AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini has called on authorities to intensify programmes that will address gender-based violence in all areas, including the deep rural parts of the country.
King Misuzulu was addressing the GBV march in Durban.
Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other organisations marched against gender-based violence from King Dinuzulu Park to the Durban City Hall.
The crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele in August revealed that violent crimes towards women and children are at an alarmingly high and unacceptable level.
The report indicated that from April to June 2022, about 855 women and 243 children were killed in South Africa.
Over 11 000 serious assault cases were opened and of these, about 1 670 involved children.
A GBV survivor who works at the Durban Central police station, Carol Mkhize, says she was almost raped at work.
Mkhize says the perpetrator was sitting at the charge office and followed her when she left.
She says the man dragged her into a corner and forced her onto the floor.
“He was on top of me trying to remove my track pants, I screamed and two men who had come to open a case heard me. They tried to remove him from top of me and they managed. Then two police officers who were on duty came and helped me and I went to open a case and he was arrested,” says Mkhize.
However, Mkhize says the justice system has failed her.
“SAPS has failed me. Last week, the investigating officer told me that the case has been withdrawn for now and I don’t understand. The suspect has been released. He’s in Cape Town as we speak. What puzzles me is how he was released because where I work, there are cameras and all the evidence is there. The justice system has failed me as their employee. I was sexually harassed at work. The leave office at work wanted the doctor to change their diagnosis and falsely diagnose me,” adds Mkhize.
Siboniso Cele and Lindokuhle Latha who were part of the GBV march, say they want to be part of the movement to stop gender-based violence.
“The victimisation of our women, we know how much it devastates our community and our economy at large. So we not only respond to these calls in terms of abuse but we call for inclusiveness. We need men to be included in these programs. I think it’s time to take our time to address these issues from the family segment up to the whole society. This is not bigger than us, we need to kill it from today.”
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says society should be mobilised in the fight against gender-based violence.
“My view is that as a nation we need to deal with violence in general where people think that the only solution when you have a problem is to be violent. We must trace it back also to a brutalised society and tell ourselves that we still need to go back and cleanse ourselves of the past violence being something that is normal. Violence cannot be normal and there’s no community and there’s no society that can grow, that can develop that can make a future if we don’t deal with violence,” says Zulu.
Former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says gender-based violence is an international pandemic. However, South Africa is the leading country.
Mlambo-Ngcuka says in most cases people do not report GBV because of the treatment they receive from the community.
“Even though gender-based violence is rife and we know it is there but most people still do not report the perpetrators because when they go to places where they are supposed to get help, they are not treated well. So they are scared of reporting because they are scared that when they go and report they’ll see themselves as the guilty party as we’ve heard just now,” adds Mlambo-Ngcuka.
King Misuzulu says women and child abuse is also rife in rural areas where resources are scarce.
He encourages citizens and those in power not to look away when such incidents occur.
“The areas that are far from the resources of relief and police stations, rural communities are also human beings who also need to be protected. My fellow citizens, brothers and sisters, this teaches us that as citizens and in high power we are guilty in two forms, by commission or looking away to this problem,” he adds.
King Misuzulu says he will continue his late father’s work in fighting the scourge of gender-based violence.