"Women are treated as statistics and not humans".
These were the words of the African National Congress Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini while addressing the funeral service of four siblings on Sunday in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
Xoli Mpungose's children - aged four, six, 10 and 16 - were murdered, one by one, allegedly by her partner Sibusiso Mpungose, 44. Sibusiso is the father of the three youngest children and was a stepfather to the eldest, teen Ayakha Jiyane.
The incident took place after the father allegedly received final divorce papers.
The bodies of his three children, Siphesihle, Khwezi and Kuhlekonke, were found hanging in their home on Tuesday, at around 14:30.
The father fetched the children and Jiyane from school during the day.
Dlamini said women have had enough of the brutal killings and gender-based violence. She added that when women call for the death penalty, they are seen as "cruel".
The ANC leader said that young men have learnt from their fathers at home that it is normal to curse and swear at women.
"Fathers leave home as if they are respectful while they have left wives whom they have brutally beaten up. They violate and apologise, violate and apologise until women find it normal.
"Men who rape our kids are not men, they are cowards," Dlamini said.
She said while women are being advised to speak out on abuse, the problem was not women but men.
"Men must speak out. They must say what their problem is," she said as the congregation cheered.
Dlamini said urged women to unite and stand together against gender-based violence. She said if one was being abused, women must act as if they were all being abused and act.
"Men must stand up and say 'enough is enough' not us."
Amongst those in attendance were KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, various municipal mayors and representatives from political parties. Jiyane's schoolmates were also in attendance at the service.
News24 reported that Mpungose, 44, will not be applying for his release on bail, the Pinetown Magistrates' Court heard on Friday.