Nothing permits abuse of women and children- Ramaphosa

2017-06-02 17:07
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the closing session of the Indigenous and Traditional Leaders Indaba. (Supplied, GCIS)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the closing session of the Indigenous and Traditional Leaders Indaba. (Supplied, GCIS)

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Johannesburg – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday told traditional leaders that they needed to assist government in fighting violence against women and children.

"You live with and among our people, you are there when problems start in families and in communities. We urge you to blow your horns before problems manifest themselves. We urge you to be at the forefront of the struggle to end violence against women.

"There is nothing in our culture, in our traditions, in our beliefs that permits the denigration, abuse, rape or murder of women. There is nothing in our history, in our ancestry, in our communal identity that permits the abuse and exploitation of children," said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the closing of the Indigenous and Traditional Leadership Indaba in Boksburg. 

His comments come at a time where there was an increase in incidences of rape and murder of women and children in the country.

The recent deaths of Karabo Mokoena, 22, and three-year-old Courtney Pieters sent shock waves around the country.  

Mokoena was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, Sandile Mantsoe, while Pieters was allegedly raped, killed and buried in a shallow grave.

Ramaphosa also told traditional leaders that working together, they could make South Africa a better country, overcoming the scourges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

"Our Constitution envisages traditional leadership that plays a central role in social and economic development. This is a vision which embraces the constitutional principles of democracy, equality and accountability.

"It is a vision that sees the institution of traditional leadership contributing significantly to employment creation, social cohesion and nation building."

Role of traditional leaders

It has been the function of traditional leadership to facilitate economic development, protect communities and preserve the environment, he said.

He said the government was now focusing on growing the economic value of smallholder agriculture, which would bring many smallholder households out of poverty.

"Some of the initiatives spearheaded by government require changing archaic farming practices, adopting new methods of looking after livestock and participating in programmes which build capacity and skills to enhance land use."

He said government wanted to work with traditional leaders to improve the health of rural people.

"We need to address their vulnerability to HIV and TB, by focusing both on prevention and ensuring access to treatment. Traditional leaders have a crucial role to play in promoting awareness, tackling prejudice and combating stigma.

"There are areas where traditional leaders have taken the lead in encouraging men to be circumcised, even where it is not a common cultural practice, because it significantly reduces the chances of HIV transmission."

He said traditional leaders should agree on how to retain traditions, heritage and indigenous wisdom while seizing the opportunities of a rapidly changing world.

"As we look into the prospects of industrialisation, traditional leaders will play a greater role in changing the landscape of our economy.The areas under your custodianship must be seen as sites for economic development. These areas have the potential to be an oasis of an organic, radically inclusive and diversified modern economy."

He said colonial authorities and the apartheid regime sought to drain rural areas of their economic potential but through the establishment of agri-parks across the country, the government was working to empower black smallholder farmers.

Ramaphosa told traditional leaders to invest in the youth so that they do not leave rural areas for urban areas.

"There must be good quality schools with universal access. Traditional leaders should be worried if schools in their areas perform poorer than schools in urban areas. Location is not necessarily an obstacle to excellence."

He said through education, South Africa could break the cycle of poverty. 

Read more on:    cyril ­ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  culture  |  abuse

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