MINISTER for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana has called on the department of justice to take action and allocate a budget for sexual offences courts. Xingwana said the idea of sexual offences courts would be pointless if there was no budget. “We could talk all we want but without the budget , nothing will happen. The DG [director-general] of the justice department must tell us how many courts there will be and how much has been allocated for the courts,” she said.
Xingwana was speaking at the Eastern Cape launch of the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign held at the Bhisho Legislature.
The Commission for Gender Equality said action needed to be taken as 30% of assaults on women and nearly 40% of sexual offences were committed by known community members.
During the official launch yesterday, invited stakeholders, including the Commission for Gender Equality and Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre, voiced their dissatisfaction on the 365 Days National Action Plan to end violence against women and children.
They said the campaign still needed to be reviewed in order to be effective.
Commissioner Janine Hicks said government needed to determine the extent of progress in implementation of the plan since its 2007 roll-out.
“There is a need to identify key constraints and gaps and establish effectiveness of programmes,” said Hicks.
The commissioner said there was lack of coordination between stakeholders, poor planning and lack of monitoring and evaluation of the National Action Plan.
Xingwana said there were loopholes in it which needed to be dealt.
“We will review the system to fight gender violence so that we can figure out a way to run the plan for it to be effective. We should have a plan that will take us for the next three years ,” she said. A candle was lit as a symbol of remembering those who have died as a result of abuse.
Xingwana said there were many other challenges facing women and children in the country. She said KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape needed to come together to fight against human rights violation such as ukuthwala (forced marriages).
About 22 girls were reportedly victims of forced marriages in KZN recently.
“It is high time t he Eastern Cape help KZN in fighting this action as they have fought it for a long time now,” she said.
The international 16 Days of Activism Campaign will officially end on December 10 while communities have been encouraged to continue reporting abuse against women and children. — firstname.lastname@example.org