Editorial: Sixteen days of waffle. Action. Now.

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Sixteen days what-what. We need to change the way we deal with this country’s violent monsters.

Last week in Limpopo President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the annual 16 Days of Waffling about no Violence Against Women and Children.

Just before that, Precious Ramabulana (21), was stabbed 52 times. FIFTY TWO TIMES!

As we reeled in horror, on Sunday Gomolemo Legae (18) was stabbed more than 25 times.

But this was not enough for her assailant, who returned to douse her with petrol and set her alight.

These two vile, deranged men do not deserve to be part of this society and it’s so hard to not to want them to be locked up forever and subjected to back-breaking hard labour.

It’s obvious that what we are doing to “combat the scourge of violence” isn’t working and that prattling on the sidelines isn’t going to help.

Action. Now. Not when the neutered fat cats return from their safe, expensive, festive break.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu this week called on South Africans to take a stand and “rebuke people in their circles who continue to abuse women and children”.

Yes, “rebuke”, he said.

“We can no longer stand on the sidelines and watch how women and children continue to fall victim to gender-based violence and femicide.”

Well then do something, all you members of Parliament.

After a shooting incident in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took action immediately and the gun laws were changed in six days.

That’s what we need. Action. Now. Not when the neutered fat cats return from their safe, expensive, festive break.

MPs should delay their recess until a process to strengthen the laws dealing with this pandemic is started and those given the task of ensuring citizens’ safety are held to account for failing Ramabulana, Legae and thousands of others.

The president – in full populist mode – has suggested that those convicted of these crimes be jailed “under the harshest conditions” and be subjected to the “harshest labour in prison”.

While we agree with the public anger that Ramaphosa is channelling, we fear that this is just playing to the gallery.

Such treatment would fall foul of South Africa’s Constitution.

Urgent, practical action is required. Not populist waffle.

Cutting into their Christmas recess would send a strong message that they see this as a full-blown crisis.


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