Empty promises, the time to stamp out GBV is now

Long-term GBV advocates, 1st for Women, has partnered with The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation to keep the pressure on policymakers in ensuring accountability and the actual implementation of the National Council on GBVF, in a bid to prevent public servant lip service.

In March 2020, South African women were promised that they wouldn’t be next.  Following a total shutdown and a mass outcry demanding justice and action, a bold, R21 billion plan, aimed at eradicating Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) by 2030, was approved and a National Council on GBVF – to oversee the implementation of this plan – was to be formulated within six months.

“20 months later, we’re still waiting,” says Masimbulele Buso, Managing Director of The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation.  

“In August 2021 we took to the streets with a Post Office to Parliament campaign to address the stagnation of focus on GBVF in South Africa.  The Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, heard us and pledged that the National Council on GBVF would be in place by the end of December 2021.  She agreed that more should have been done and that women had had enough of being ‘slaughtered like goats’,” says Buso. 

To keep the pressure on policymakers, ensure actual accountability and the implementation of the National Council on GBVF – and to prevent lip service – The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation has partnered with long-term GBV advocates, 1st for Women Insurance. 

“We’re pulling out all the stops to make sure that our leaders deliver on the promises they’ve made and to ensure that GBV is not a footnote, but part of the agenda. According to the SAPS, between April and June 2021, rape increased by 72.4% and sexual offences increased by 74.1% compared to the previous reporting period. This place of limbo cannot continue,” says Seugnette van Wyngaard, Head of 1st for Women.

What’s so special about the National Council on GBVF anyway?

The National Council on GBVF is a body made up by representatives from Government and civil society to realise a South Africa free from GBVF. The Executive Board will consist of 13 members – six from Government and seven from civil society, who will be appointed through a process of public nomination.  Together, they’ll set the national agenda for responding to GBVF, coordinate plans for the equitable distribution of resources, promote accountability, strengthen coordination and reduce impunity on GBVF.

“It’s pretty important,” says van Wyngaard, “Without this Council, the National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide vision will not be achieved.  We’re already on the back foot.”

The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation and 1st for Women need your help to get the relevant committees and members of Parliament to announce the formation of a National Council on GBVF in December 2021.  

Here’s how you can help bring about change:

  • Visit StampOutGBV.co.za and post a virtual post card to Parliament about why you want delivery on the promises made about eradicating GBV, if and how you’ve been affected by GBV and why you want to stamp out the associated, heinous crimes. 
    • These post cards will be added to the 12000+ post cards already received by The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation during its Post Office to Parliament campaign. All post cards will be documented in a research paper on the effects of GBVF on South Africans and presented to policymakers. The research paper will inform policymakers on key GBVF focus areas, based on real accounts, and will be made available to civil society to raise awareness.  

“1st for Women partnered with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities in 2019 to launch 365 of activism against GBVF. Again, we say ‘Thuma mina’ to help fast track the National Council on GBVF,” says van Wyngaard. 

Buso concludes: “The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation was founded in celebration of the life of Uyinene Mrwetyana. She is remembered for her lifelong vision of fighting all forms of injustice against women and was vocal about the various social ills which plague our society – including patriarchal oppression and issues of GBVF.  Now it’s your turn, the people of South Africa, to join us to stamp out GBVF.”

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