Gender Based Violence Debate Speech
The following speech was delivered in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament today by Minister Madikizela during a debate: Taking action against Gender Based Violence and Femicide in the Western Cape.
- Mr Speaker
- Mr Premier
- Cabinet colleagues
- Members of the House
- Ladies and gentlemen.
Violence by men against women and children has become a norm. Animals who don’t deserve to be called men are raping and slaughtering our children, sisters, mothers and even grandmothers everyday.
There are 57 murders in South Africa everyday, 46 of those are men, 9 women and 2 children. But the Western Cape has the highest number of child murders while the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal have the highest number of women murders.
Mr Speaker, for a very long time beside in isolated cases, we’ve been absent as men and have allowed victims to lead this campaign themselves. This norm has to change. Real men must now stand up and say “not in our name”.
I really appeal to the members of this House to use this debate as a rallying call by bringing to the fore practical interventions to curb the scourge.
On the 3rd of February 2013, we woke up to a horrific story of a 17-year-old young girl who was gang-raped and disemboweled with her abdomen slit open at a construction site in Bredasdorp. Anene Booysen’s death sent shockwaves to the nation. There was anger and frustration at how this young woman’s life was ended. We sent messages of condolences, organized marches and called for maximum sentence for the perpetrator who was only 16-years-old.
That horrific incident was followed by another one in the same area in January 2018 when Jordine Pieters was found raped and killed at a limestone factory.
Not long thereafter, Courtney Pieters, a three-year-old that was raped twice before she was killed and buried in a shallow grave in Elsies River.
This month, Jesse Hess, UWC student was found dead with her grandfather at their flat in Parow.
Janika Mallo, a 14-year-old from Mitchells Plain was raped and found dead with her head bashed in her grandmother’s yard.
We must never forget Lynnette Volschenk whose mutilated body parts were found in her flat in Bellville.
Meghan Cremer’s body was found on a sand mine in a farm Philippi. She was allegedly murdered during a robbery involving three men who had previous convictions.
Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and killed by a monster who works in our offices. He appears to be a normal human being who is a frequent church goer. We then learned that he’s got a history and a record of sexual offenses.
With all these incidents and many more that are not reported, something drastic needs to be done colleagues - it can’t be business as usual.
Speaker, I want to take a moment and pay my respect to one of my unsung heroes who responded to a call for men to take a stand. Unfortunately, people like him get very little attention and recognition. Andrew Klein from Klapmuts was killed by a group of young men after he saved a woman from being gang-raped by nine men. May his soul Rest In Peace.
I also want to thank EFF Councillor, Lucinda Hansbaard for the role she played in assisting the family. I salute you my sister.
Mr Speaker, I want us to be honest with ourselves. Our system failed the rape victim. The Department of Health failed her after she went to hospital but did not get proper assistance. The Department of Social Development failed her. She did not get any counseling after the ordeal. The Police failed her because the perpetrators are still roaming the streets.
Thanks to all the colleagues who intervened to remedy the situation. Colleagues, we can wear black clothes and embark on marches everyday, but if we don’t act when it matters - it’s a cold comfort for victims and families who lost their loved ones.
Mr Speaker, all these incidents are showing a very disturbing pattern. We are dealing with a complex matter here. These are not normal human beings. They have no soul. We need experts to examine all these cases and individuals involved in order to understand what we are dealing with. Yes, protests and marches will raise awareness, but ultimately we need to deal with the root causes.
Populist responses and calling of death penalty will not solve this problem. It will not deter drug addicts who become zombies and oblivious to these acts. It will not deter children born with fetal alcoholic syndrome because their brain is so severely affected that 80% of the time cannot tell the difference between right and wrong. It will not solve the problem of children who join gangs and be forced to kill or rape as part of initiation because they don’t have fathers as role
models. It will not discourage people with mental illness and those with history of abuse but never received the help they need.
Let us start by getting our house in order as Government by protecting victims in our spaces. Uyinene was raped and killed by our employee.
Thousands of girls are sexually exploited and impregnated by teachers.
Here in Western Cape, a Doctor was fired for raping a patient and another one for raping his colleague.
We have a disturbing culture of sex for jobs, sex for tenders, sex for marks etc.
Many of us know their pastors who abuse young girls but turn a blind eye.
It’s time to act and not just talk.
And this is my appeal to all of you in this House today. Whatever role you play – member of a family, leader in your community, holder of public office - make every effort to counter the scourge we are addressing here this afternoon.
You all have influence. You can all be alert.
And you can all be united in your condemnation of gender based violence and femicide. We cannot and we must not leave this House today without searching our hearts and identifying the hundreds of opportunities which we all have on a daily basis to make the lives of the women and girls in our society safe and free from the constant fear of the dangers which sadly lurk in so many parts of their daily lives.
I will be communicating this message to organisations and structures which operate within my portfolios. I am sure my colleagues will join me in doing so.
I thank you.