Women who are members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square to Constitutional Hill to demand the retraining of judges and justices to better deal with sexual harassment, women abuse, rape and other matters related to gender-based violence.
In a tweet, the EFF stated that the party "recognises that while patriarchy and sexism are pervasive in our society, it is children, black women and gender and sexual minorities who suffer the most from gender-based violence".
They added that "a courtroom must not be another form of trauma for women victims of rape and sexual violence".
Some of the demonstrators' demands included the "education of the police on gender justice and the establishment of specialised law enforcement units to deal with women, sexual and gender minority-related crimes".
They also called for the abolition of all cultural practices which promote and tolerate gender discrimination and gender-based violence.
The women want gender equality enforced through institutions such as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), Commission for Promotion and Rights of Cultural and Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL)".
In addition, they demanded that "all victims abused must be treated with fairness, respect and courtesy, in private, without discrimination, regardless of circumstances, population group, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and appearance".
MPs Natasha Ntlangwini and Thembi Msane signed the memorandum on behalf of the EFF while Constitutional Court Manager Hlengani Thomas Rikhotso signed the memorandum on behalf of the apex court.
According to Safer Spaces, "gender-based violence is a profound and widespread problem in South Africa, impacting on almost every aspect of life. Gender-based violence, which disproportionately affects women and girls, is systemic and deeply entrenched in institutions, cultures and traditions in South Africa."
As defined by one study, gender-based violence can be broadly defined as "the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between genders, within the context of a specific society".
The EFF women's protest march is not the first attempt to practically address the scourge of gender-based violence.
News24 previously reported that Minister in the Presidency for Women Bathabile Dlamini wants an overhaul of criminal justice legislation that could lead to domestic violence being categorised as a separate crime category.
The Minister, responding to a parliamentary question, stated that her department made a commitment during the trial of Nigerian pastor Tim Omotoso to "revisit the Sexual Offences Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Criminal Procedure Act".
"The amendments will seek to invest in strengthening justice systems to investigate and prosecute sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases effectively; [and] strengthening data collection systems, so that there is clarity on the extent and depth of the problem," reads Dlamini's answer.
According to Dlamini, in 2017-'18 women were the victims of 2 390 murders, 36 731 sexual offences, 3 554 attempted murders, 53 263 assaults with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and 81 141 common assaults.