The time to stamp out gender-based violence is now

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Rhodes Rugby players carry the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation banner during the march on Friday 29 November to mark its launch. (Steven Lang, Grocott's Mail)
Rhodes Rugby players carry the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation banner during the march on Friday 29 November to mark its launch. (Steven Lang, Grocott's Mail)

The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation has partnered with long-term gender-based violence advocates, 1st for Women Insurance.

This in an effort to keep the pressure on policymakers, ensure actual accountability and the implementation of the national council on Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).

The partnership also comes at the start of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, which runs from November 25 until December 10.

In March last year, South African women were promised that they wouldn’t be next. Following a total shutdown and a mass outcry demanding justice and action, a bold R21 billion plan, aimed at eradicating GBVF by 2030, was approved and a national council on GBVF - to oversee the implementation of this plan - was to be formulated within six months.

“20 months later, we’re still waiting,” said Masimbulele Buso, managing director of the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation in a press statement.

Seugnette van Wyngaard, head of 1st for Women, said they are now pulling out all the stops to make sure that leaders deliver on the promises they’ve made and to ensure that gender-based violence is not a footnote, but part of the agenda.

“According to the SAPS, between April and June 2021, rape increased by 72.4% and sexual offences increased by 74.1% compared to the previous reporting period. This place of limbo cannot continue,” she said.

Speaking about the national council on GBVF, van Wyngaard said it is a body made up of representatives from government and civil society to realise a South Africa free from GBVF. The executive board will consist of 13 members - six from government and seven from civil society, who will be appointed through a process of public nomination, she said.

“Together, they’ll set the national agenda for responding to GBVF, coordinate plans for the equitable distribution of resources, promote accountability, strengthen coordination and reduce impunity on GBVF. It’s pretty important,” said van Wyngaard.

“Without this council, the national strategic plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide vision will not be achieved. We’re already on the back foot.”

The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation and 1st for Women need the help of the public to get the relevant committees and members of Parliament to announce the formation of a national council on GBVF in December.

Here’s how you can help bring about change:

•Visit and post a virtual post card to Parliament about why you want delivery on the promises made about eradicating GBV, if and how you’ve been affected by GBV and why you want to stamp out the associated, heinous crimes.

•These post cards will be added to the 12000+ post cards already received by The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation during its Post Office to Parliament campaign. All post cards will be documented in a research paper on the effects of GBVF on South Africans and presented to policymakers. The research paper will inform policymakers on key GBVF focus areas, based on real accounts, and will be made available to civil society to raise awareness.

Buso said the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation was founded in celebration of the life of Uyinene Mrwetyana.

“She is remembered for her lifelong vision of fighting all forms of injustice against women and was vocal about the various social ills which plague our society – including patriarchal oppression and issues of GBVF.”

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