SNAP debate on the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children by Mrs YN Phosa, MEC for Finance
25 Nov 2011
Thank you Honourable Speaker and;
Members of this August House,
Today we join the rest of the world in observing the 16 days of Activism Campaign on No Violence against Women and Children for 2011.
This initiative is endorsed by the United Nations and it is commemorated from today 25 November – which was declared the International Day for No Violence against Women and ends on 10 December – which is observed as the International Human Rights Day.
This year’s campaign marks the 12th anniversary since the inaugural launch in 1999 and it is taking place under the theme: “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence”.
Since its inception, the campaign focused mainly on gender based violence and has since evolved to include issues relating to violence against children. However the scope was broadened to accommodate issues relating to violence against people with disabilities following the establishment of the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
Honourable Speaker and Members; while we were hard at work preparing for this campaign, about three weeks ago we woke-up to the news of another brutal killing of a young mother in the East of Pretoria.
The 26 year old Channel Henning was gunned down after dropping her son at Morning Star Montessori preschool in Faerie Glen, on Tuesday 8 November.
It was reported that five men has since appeared before the Pretoria Magistrate Court in connection with her murder. As we condemn this barbaric act, we are however encouraged by the swift action by the police in bringing the alleged perpetrators to book.
Following this ordeal, I was personally touched by the words of the victim’s mother during the media interview when she quoted her Grandchild asking her this question: “Ouma, what happened to Mommy”?
Honourable Speaker, what was supposed to be the simplest question to answer, became the trickiest to the mourning Granny. We should therefore ask ourselves as to how many orphans are asking this very same question and whether as society, are we able to answer them satisfactory.
We raise this matter Honourable Members, because it seems that once again a gun landed in the wrong hands and thereby causing pain and frustration in the process.
The issue of illegal firearms circulating in our communities is still a matter of concern. According to the International Action Network on Small Arms (ANSA), women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the house.
Not only do small arms facilitate violence against women, they are used in many contact crimes, robberies and other violent crimes that remain prevalent in our communities.
Government, through its implementing agency, the South African Police Services, pleaded with gun-owners (legal or illegal) to consider handing them over to the police during the amnesty period.
There will therefore be no exemption from prosecution for owners who lose their guns negligently because they continue to commit atrocities and terrorise our people. Domestic disputes are no longer settled through negotiated means but thorough inflicting pain and suffering to the other party – usually women.
Guns continue to polarise our society and displayed millions of people in conflicting parts of our continent. Today you hardly find a family with a complete family tree. Our economy continues to drop to its low levels due to the loss of competent human resource through these illegal arms.
However Honourable Speaker and Members; we are encouraged by the efforts of our government in addressing particularly gun related crimes such as murder and robbery. We remain optimistic that the battle against this pandemic that continues to eat our societies to the bone will be won.
The recent crime statistics shows an overwhelming decline even though contact crimes indicate an upward trend of 2.1%, 5,6% and 2,6% in sexual offences and murder against women and children respectively in the 2010/11 as compared to 2009/10 financial years.
The reintroduction of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units within the SAPS will assist in turning the tide against these crimes so that we can have adequate answers to our Grandchildren when they ask about their parents’ whereabouts.
As we commemorate this year’s 16 days of Activism against Women and Children Abuse campaign, let us do so in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the hands of perpetrators who continue to terrorise our people and pray that the long arm of the law will avenge their deaths.
May their soul rest in peace!!
I thank you.
Issued by: Mpumalanga Finance
25 Nov 2011
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