Parliament, Tuesday, 31 October 2023 – The National Assembly (NA) today, during a hybrid plenary sitting passed the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill. The Bill is a sequel to the Presidential Summit Declaration against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide of 2018 aimed at preventing and eliminating the endemic abuse, violence, and murder of women in South Africa.

The Bill establishes the National Council that will manage an approach to GBV and femicide in collaboration with relevant stakeholders that include short, medium and long term priorities that are aligned with various national frameworks. The National Council will also ensure that information on best practices regarding the prevention and elimination of GBV is available and accessible.

The Bill also calls for the National Strategic Plan to be developed and implemented within six months of the National Council being established with regular reports on the progress of its implementation to an Inter-Ministerial Committee on GBV and Femicide. Thereafter, the plan must be reviewed every five years. In addition, the National Council will be required to ensure that there are adequate resources available to deal with GBV and femicide, develop education and training programmes on combatting GBV, and establish multi-sectoral structures to prevent and respond to it jointly.

The National Council will consist of a board of no more than 13 members who shall be appointed with civil society participation. Of significance is that the board must have at least 80% female representation. The Bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

During the same plenary sitting, the NA filled vacancies on the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The House appointed Mr Qondile Khedama, Mr Thembelani Mpakati, and Ms Jayshree Pather to the MDDA Board. Mr Mothibi Ramusi and Mr Dimitrios Martinis were appointed as ICASA Councillors.

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo