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Parliament, Monday 25 November 2019 - The Presiding Officers of Parliament, led by Speaker of the National Assembly Ms Thandi Modise and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Mr Amos Masondo, join the country in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children and to rid society of abuse permanently.

The 16 days start at a time when the country has been experiencing a spate of high rates of violence against women and children which also gave birth to a social media campaign #AmINext. The hashtag underscores the gravity of the scourge and its destructive impact on the lives of women and children of our nation.

The countrywide uproar led to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling a joint sitting of Parliament on 18 September to respond to calls of action which were made by women of this country. He also announced an Emergency Action Plan aimed at strengthening measures and introducing new interventions in five principal areas which are - how to prevent gender-based violence, how the criminal justice system should be strengthened, the steps that should be taken to enhance the legal and policy framework, what should be done to ensure adequate care, support and healing for victims of violence and measures to improve the economic power of women in South Africa.

Parliament, through its Constitutional obligation as an oversight authority, will monitor the implementation of the plan to ensure its full realisation.

According to the 2018/2019 crime statistics in South Africa, 2771 women and over 1 000 children were murdered in South Africa. Every day the police received over 100 cases of reported rape. These statistics paint a dire and gloomy picture of the status quo and cries for united action to confront and completely eliminate the scourge.

“These are shocking figures and we are calling out to men of this country to be protectors and not perpetrators of violence against women and children of our country. Enough is enough, and the time is now for our feelings and words as a nation to translate into urgent and impactful action for the sake of the future of our country”, said the Presiding Officers.

As Parliament, we will never waver in our pursuit of the promotion of human dignity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism and the supremacy of the Constitution. Our vision remains to transform the entire society to be based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights, which include women’s and children’s rights.

We assure South Africans that we will continue to make strides in passing legislation that is aimed at ending this scourge and whose objective is to develop and empower women and children in our society. Work has started in earnest to review the 1994 Women’s Charter. The decision to review was taken during the Women’s Parliament, in August, to take stock of progress made in implementing the articles of the Women’s Charter since the 25 years of democracy.

Last week Tuesday, (19 November) the first public hearings to assess the impact of legislation was held in Gugulethu, Cape Town and issues of gender-based violence were sharply raised.

“Every breadth and length of the country will be visited by Parliament to ensure that maximum participation happens in the provincial review consultation series. The outcomes of the consultation process are to have legislation that will close existing gaps, further enhance good practice and pave way for a society free of any form of violence against women and children,” said the Presiding Officers.

As the Presiding Officers, we say not in our name and lifetime shall women and children live in fear. The unity of our nation is paramount to ensure that perpetrators are squeezed out of the communities. This will be attained if every man in this country stands up, not only in word but in action, and say Not In my Name.

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