Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Patricia De Lille, has reiterated the need for families and communities to stand together and speak out against abuse as well as report abusers to the authorities.
This, she said, would ensure that gender-based violence perpetrators “face the full might of the law and do not get away with the harm they bring to our women and children”.
The Minister made the remarks on Monday in Inanda, in KwaZulu-Natal, where she viewed the recently installed anti-gender based violence and femicide (GBVF) billboards by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).
KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi accompanied the Minister.
In September 2019, de Lille committed to allocating unoccupied state-owned properties for service delivery purposes, especially to provide shelter to victims of GBV.
So far, the DPWI has made available 12 properties for shelters for GBV victims, six of these shelters are in Gauteng and six are in the Western Cape.
At the time, she also committed that DPWI would use state-owned properties to install anti-GBVF messaging as a campaign to show government’s solidarity with communities and families who have been affected by this scourge and to demonstrate government efforts in the fight against GBVF.
The anti-GBVF messaging campaign started with a billboard installed on Kgosi Mampuru Road in Tshwane and a mural at Manenberg Police Station in Cape Town. The DPWI is expanding the GBVF advocacy communication campaign to all provinces.
Anti-GBVF billboards have also been installed at three police stations in Pretoria - Mamelodi East, Mamelodi West and Eersterust - by the DPWI earlier this year.
As part of expanding the programme, the DPWI recently installed three more billboards at the Plessislaer, Inanda and Empangeni Police Stations in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Minister on Monday said the placement of the billboards was part of government’s communication efforts to reaffirm the stance against the killing and hurting of women and children.
“Each day women and children are being abused and killed by the very people who are supposed to protect them. We have lost far too many sisters, mothers and children to the scourge of GBVF and it must come to an end.
“Families and communities must not protect those who perpetrate these heinous crimes against our own women and children. Women and children must be loved and protected at all times and we must speak out and protect our women and children every day of the year,” she said.
The Minister called on women to not protect their abuser and be scared of speaking out or walking away.
“Women must know that there is support out there and they must leave abusive relationships. Often women are scared to leave and the most devastating consequence is being killed at the hands of the abuser.
“We have placed these billboards in communities most afflicted by crime and the billboards also publicise the number of the national GBVF Command Centre where victims can call to get help. Help is available. Speak out and act against abuse for the sake of saving lives.”
She pleaded with men to stop hurting women and children, saying they should rather do more to protect and be protectors they need.
Source: South African Government News Agency