Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has challenged the Men’s Sector to be central in spreading the message of equality between women and men, girls and boys at a very tender age.

“This is a message that shuns the culture of male dominance and sexual violence, the culture that enables leaders from all walks of life to shamelessly prey on young girls.

“We need the collective voice of men, boys and other youth formations across all sectors of society to fully address the ongoing war on women and children,” Zulu said.

Zulu was speaking at the National Men’s Parliament held in Parliament, Cape Town, on Thursday.

The two-day Men’s Parliament, which is convened under the banner of the Takuwani Riime Men’s Movement, seeks to find practical solutions to the challenges we have as a nation.

The Men’s Parliament on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) is endorsed by the Department of Social Development, in partnership with the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) and the Men’s Sector. It is held under the theme “Institutionalising a Responsive Men’s Movement”.

She said that the call for the partnership with the Men’s Parliament by government is premised on the understanding that government alone cannot address the developmental challenges South Africa faces.

The Minister also reiterated that men and boys have a very important role in building a South Africa, as envisioned in the National Development Plan (Vision 2030). 

“Central in this partnership is the joint commitment to pursue matters of national interest such as fostering constitutional values, promoting reconciliation, nation building and social cohesion.

“Key amongst others is that the leadership from both government and Men’s Sector should intensify their commitment of promoting families as the pillar of strength in society, promote healthy living and healthy lifestyles among young people, and combating the scourge of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa,” Zulu said.

Joining forces to eradicate COVID-19, GBV

“South Africans are all ready to handle the bull by its horns by joining forces with all, as we endeavour to eradicate COVID-19 and all other challenges facing the country, including Gender-Based Violence (GBV), once and for all,” said Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

For us to have an equal society free from violence, Nkoana-Mashabane said we need every South African to play their part, especially men who have been beneficiaries of power and privilege.

“Men’s Parliaments and dialogues are important, but they should also be a space for action where we can proudly tell the country that, a year ago we met and have set targets to change this toxic notions of masculinity and those that have walked this journey with you have changed their behaviour and are now mentoring the others.”

To achieve peace and security for everyone, the Minister added that, homes and communities must be free of any form of violence and abuse.

“We must take total control of our communities and make them safe havens for all its inhabitants.”

Societal response needed to succeed in GBV fight

Police Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale said the fight against GBV is a societal fight, and “we need societal response to succeed in this fight”.

“Challenges of GBV are a reflection of a situation within which we find ourselves as a country, and until we deal with the economic power relations, this problem will persistently be with us. The resolution of the economic power relations in the country will contribute immensely to the defeat of GBV.”

Mathale also stressed a need for all police stations to have dedicated desks to assist women when coming to the stations to report GBV cases.

“It’s important that when someone has been the victim of such crime, they must not be exposed to secondary violence they’ve accounted at home. They should be treated with respect and their cases be handled with confidentiality,” the Deputy Minister said.

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