South Africa: Time for action to end scourge of GBVF – Pres Ramaphosa

JOHANNESBURG— South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has challenged delegates attending the second Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) to be focused on action and results toward ending violence against women and children.

“As a society, ending violence against women and children cannot be anything but our foremost priority,” Ramaphosa said.

The President made the call during the Presidential Summit on GBVF held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa convened the second summit, which aims to reflect on the work undertaken since the first Presidential Summit on GBVF in November 2018, and also report on key successes and challenges, and outline clear strategies to overcome them.

Delivering his keynote address, the President noted that during the first summit, the participants collectively made a firm commitment to the nation to undertake a comprehensive, effective and united response to gender-based violence and femicide.

“We agreed to develop a National Strategic Plan (NSP) to guide our national response, to coordinate the various sectors involved in the fight against GBV, to strengthen the state’s response, and to align the efforts of government, the private sector and civil society.

These included a number of interventions to deal with the scourge of GBVF in the country, which started with the development of a GBVF Emergency Response Action Plan in 2019.

“I requested Parliament’s Presiding Officers to call a special joint sitting of both houses of Parliament to announce the action plan. The plan was embraced by members of Parliament representing all political parties.

“This was a significant moment in that GBVF was seen as a non-partisan matter on which all political parties demonstrated their preparedness to act together to address this scourge. This was followed by the release in April 2020 of the National Strategic Plan, which had been carefully drawn up together with civil society,” Ramaphosa highlighted.

The President told delegates attending that they must look at what is working, what is not, and what is needed to make a difference.

“This is an accountability summit. This second Presidential Summit is for us to assess progress in fulfilling the commitments we made at the first Summit in 2018 and in implementing the National Strategic Plan (NSP on GBVF).

“What we have stressed throughout this process is the importance of a collaborative and coordinated approach towards combating gender-based violence and femicide. We need to plan together, implement together and account together.

“The actions we take now will determine whether this crime forever remains a feature of our national life, or whether we can say we are the generation that ended it,” President Ramaphosa said.