1 March 2013
On the 26th of February 2013 Mail and Guardian on line reported that Ministers were absent during this week’s debate on Gender Based Violence in the National Assembly, quoting an opposition MP as saying that it is symptomatic of a lack of leadership in dealing with this serious issue. This is incorrect.
The fact that certain Ministers did not speak during a parliamentary debate does not reflect government’s attitude towards tackling this scourge.
Government did participate in the political debate, of which speakers, including amongst others the Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, were drawn from represented political parties that may not have been portfolio driven as in the case of a ministerial budget vote.
Just this week, government announced various initiatives that are geared up for this fight. It includes the establishment of the National Council Against Gender Based Violence, which will provide strategic leadership, coordination and monitoring of gender-based violence initiatives. Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, is the Patron and the council is convened at a high level.
It is the responsibility of everyone in society to fight abuse. This week President Jacob Zuma launched the Stop Rape in Schools campaign, run by the Department of Basic Education, in partnership with LEAD SA.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) in partnership with LEAD SA are jointly leading a major initiative to raise rape awareness and educate the estimated 10, 2 million learners in South African schools.
Partnerships such as these represent government’s extreme commitment to raise awareness about human rights and highlight the need for children to respect the Constitution and the values it espouses, including respect for the next person and respect in particular for women and girls and their rights to safety and security.
Now is the time for collective action and partnership to eradicate gender-based violence, not a time to score political points at the expense of efforts to work together to eradicate this scourge.
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Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)