President Cyril Ramaphosa says the approval of three critical pieces of legislation will strengthen the criminal justice system and ensure harsh penalties for those found guilty of gender-based violence (GBV).
“We must strengthen our efforts across all fronts,” President Ramaphosa said.
“These gruesome acts of violence cannot go unpunished. They must strengthen our resolve to end gender-based violence in all its forms.”
Bills ‘changing GBV landscape’
Three bills passed, one pending
On 1 September, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passed three bills, which will change the landscape in terms of how government departments, law enforcement and the courts deal with cases of violence against women and the vulnerable.
The bills are: Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, Domestic Violence Amendment Bill and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill.
The House passed two of the bills, and the two bills were scheduled to be sent back to the National Assembly.
The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, meanwhile, was scheduled to be sent to the President for assent.
GBV cases during Women’s Month
In his address, Ramaphosa said Women’s Month witnessed many GBV cases, at a time when the country had planned to celebrate the success of women in many fields.
Among other cases:
- Fort Hare law student, Nosicelo Mtebeni, was murdered and dismembered in East London;
- a Grade 1 pupil from Khensani Primary School in Soshanguve was raped in the school’s toilets;
- Palesa Maruping, was found hanging from the ceiling of a house in Khuma Location in the North West, and
- Pheliswa Sawutana was strangled to death in Kosovo informal settlement in Cape Town.
“The courts are increasingly handing down judgements for life imprisonment for statutory rape, robbery and aggravating sentences that involve rape.
End the GBV pandemic
Ramaphosa said government will continue to “implement all the pillars of the National Strategic Plan against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.”
“Ultimately, the success of this work depends on the actions that we all take to end this pandemic of violence against women and children,” Ramaphosa said.
He called on men to understand that the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the country’s Constitution belong to all people, men and women alike.