A nation that does not protect its women, children does not have a future - Nzimande

Challenging the system: Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.
Challenging the system: Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

Johannesburg - Gender-based violence is an extension of other crimes which plague South Africa and a nation that does not protect its own women and children does not have a future, SA Communist Party General Secretary Blade Nzimande said on Sunday.

Nzimande was speaking at the communist party's Red October rally, held at the Johannesburg City Hall. This year's Red October Day was themed around beating the scourge of gender-based violence.

Speaking to more than 200 hundred delegates in attendance, Nzimande spoke on the ills of gender-based violence saying that violence against women would plunge the country into a deeper crisis.

He said a nation that did not protect its women did not have a future.

"It’s going to be important that we don't just come together here and nothing happens," Nzimande said. He then urged SACP members to join Community Policing Forums or "build them were they do not exist".

He said men who beat their wives should be exposed by the community and the SACP. 

"If you hit your wife, you are breaking the law. Don’t tell us it’s not our business."

Nzimande then condemned violence against the LGBTI community saying that the SACP was tolerant of others.

"Morally and politically we must create a tolerant society."

He added that the language around the political assassinations taking place in KwaZulu-Natal needed to change.

"In KZN they politely call it political killings, those are not political killings, it is criminal activities but to further a political agenda. It is criminals that are killing us. Let us not skirt around it and give it a better name."

Nzimande encouraged SACP members to support Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and his efforts to fight crime. He said that it was a positive sign for the minister to acknowledge that the police were infiltrated by criminals.

'This thing of blessers must end'

"He (Mbalula) has said he is conceding that there are criminals in SAPS. Let’s encourage him..."

He added, however, that the SACP should recognise when good work was done by police.

Nzimande also condemned the phenomenon of "blessers" (also known as sugar daddies) saying that there was a new wave of women who were being described as "passport girls".

These girls (mostly university students) were gaining material possessions such as cars, clothes and having their rent paid for by these "blessers".

He said that although the National Student Financial Aid Scheme had its glitches, it was working for most students and discouraged students from finding a means to accessing more funds, through such relationships.

"This thing of blessers must end. Leave our young girls. Yes, NSFAS has problems but don't go looking for another NSFAS," he encouraged young women.

ANC Gauteng Provincial Secretary Hope Papo, who was delivering a message of support on behalf of the party, said men also needed to do some self-introspection because it was them who had "invaded the dignity of women".

Without organisational machinery in their tripartite alliance, the country would not defeat gender-based violence, he said.

The country was outraged this week when a Nelson Mandela University (NMU) student was raped and another was stabbed, allegedly because she did not have a cellphone on her.

Students want increased security

The incident resulted in hundreds of students converging to the university's South Campus in Summerstrand, to raise their concerns around the lack of security on campus, slow response times to complaints and the overall lack of action from the university.

Students demanded a visible police presence and increased security, especially around night-time test venues, panic buttons, a functional emergency hotline, more controlled access to campuses and a safe route between campuses that was patrolled by security.

Nelson Mandela University (NMU) has committed to beefing up security across all its campuses to ensure the safety of staff and students following a vicious attack, News24 reported.

Earlier this week, five members of the same family from Nteke area in Marianhill were killed.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said that gunmen fired multiple shots at the family, aged between 19 and 34, late on Thursday evening.

On Tuesday night, eight people, including two women and six children, were shot and killed in Amatimatolo in the Umzinyathi area.

Their home was set alight after they were shot.

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