Violence against women: National moment of silence and prayer to be observed on Sunday

Ministers Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Ronald Lamola. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).
Ministers Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Ronald Lamola. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

In mourning women who have been killed due to gender-based violence, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has asked South Africans to observe a national moment of silence and prayer on Sunday.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane held an urgent press briefing on Tuesday together with Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.

The moment of silence and prayer, said Nkoane-Mashaba, was to "encourage all men to speak out against gender-based violence". 

The country has been coming to grips with the sheer spate of recent murders, including South African boxing champion Leighandre Jegels who was shot and killed by her police officer boyfriend last week, and Uyinene Mrwetyana who was allegedly attacked, raped and murdered by a Post Office employee in Cape Town.

Fourteen-year-old Janika Mallo's body was also found in a backyard in Heinz Park in the Western Cape.

Nkoane-Mashabane said, from the government's side, there was a commitment from the police to establish a "victim-friendly facility" to "ensure that victims were in a comfortable and secluded environment when reporting a crime".

Lamola, from a justice point of view, added in the period 2018 and 2019, 4 716 sexual offence convictions were recorded (74.4%) - a number he believed needed to be improved on.

He added, currently, there were 92 sexual offences courts across the country, and an additional 11 "will be built by the end of 2019".

When asked whether his department was looking into amending the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) by way of a referendum to get harsher sentences for sexual offenders, Lamola said it would be "open to looking at amendments to existing legislature".

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