The Provincial Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato, in partnership with various stakeholders, launched the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign in Marikana on Saturday, 25th November 2017.
The aim is to create awareness and promote vigilance against the abuse of women and children. The event was attended by over 200 community members, young and old, who came to heed the campaign’s call to action: “SPEAK OUT – BE THE VOICE OF COURAGE”.
Minister Plato strongly condemned the violence that shook Marikana earlier in the year:
“The business of the day is SPEAKING OUT. Eleven people lost their lives in Marikana. We must take a stand against this happening again.”
Gender based violence remains prevalent in the Western Cape and the community of Marikana is no exception. Minister Plato took a stand against the fate many women suffering at the hands of men;
“We cannot accept the normality of women and young girls being raped, killed and their bodies dumped. In most cases, those responsible for these heinous crimes are males known to the victim.”
Approximately 39% of women have experienced some form of violence according to the Western Cape Gender Based Violence Indicators.
“Each one of us has a duty to end domestic violence and abuse towards women and children. If you are guilty of abuse and violence, seek help and stop the abuse. If you are a victim of abuse and violence, speak out, be the voice of courage and find help. If you know of someone who is being abused – it is your duty to speak out on their behalf and help stop the cycle of abuse. Government and safety partners are here today to extend a helping hand. You are not alone. We are united in our aim of eliminating violence and abuse against women and children,” Minister Plato said.
Minister Plato also spoke about the plans the Department is putting in place to ensure safer spaces for children and to prevent them from becoming involved in unlawful activities.
“The Youth Safety and Religious Partnership is a flagship programme of the Department of Community Safety, where we partner with our religious fraternity in communities to provide alternative and safe recreational, educational and skills development during school holidays, when youth are most at risk. We are continuously looking at ways to expand this programme and are prioritising some of the areas worst affected by crime, gang and drug related problems.”
Minister Plato also highlighted the importance of parents raising their children as law abiding citizens.
“Adults must prioritise the safety of children. They must intervene if they are suspicious of their children’s activities. Parents must set the example in teaching young boys not to rape or abuse young girls or women.”
Local musicians entertained the community and Minister Plato also handed out goodies to the children who attended the event.