Femicide debate: ANC in Parliament calls for a national state of emergency to be declared

Uyinene Mrwetyana, Janika Mallo, Leighandre Jegels and Jesse Hess were abused and murdered.
Uyinene Mrwetyana, Janika Mallo, Leighandre Jegels and Jesse Hess were abused and murdered.

The chairperson of Parliament's multiparty women's caucus says the ANC caucus has called for a national state of emergency to be declared on gender-based violence and femicide.

Reflecting on August, which is Women's Month, Parliament held a debate on gender-based violence in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The chairperson of the multiparty women's caucus and ANC MP, Nkhensani Kate Bilankulu, said "it is our collective duty to eradicate gender-based violence and femicide".

"We are grateful that Amy-Leigh de Jager has been returned home safely but what about Amahle Thabethe, an eight-year-old from Gauteng who's been missing since April?

"What about Janika Mallo, a Grade 7 pupil from Northwood Primary School in Cape Town, whose head was bashed in, brain leaking from the left inside of her face? What about Jesse Hess, a first-year student from the UWC who was murdered and found dead on her bed?" asked Bilankulu.

"And Uyinene who was raped and murdered. Women are finding themselves asking 'who is next'," she said referring to the hashtag #AmINext?

Bilankulu said: "... as the ANC we call for a state of emergency to be declared on gender-based violence and femicide."

"Men who murder women and children must get nothing less than a life sentence. Cases of gender-based violence and femicide must be fast-tracked. 

"The ANC calls for an activist society, working together to call out those who are culprits of abuse, violence against women and children, rapists and against all those who seek to undermine the Constitution, the cornerstone of our democracy which strives for a non-sexist society," she said.

Echoing the words of other MPs who had taken to the podium before her, Deputy Minister of Women Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize said: "Today is not a day for a divisive, or factional, or party politics debate. It is about all of us as the august house to reflect deeply and say 'having passed the laws, having come up with strategic policies what more needs to be done'?"

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