Mabuza vows to 'step up' govt role in fighting gender-based violence

Deputy President David Mabuza has vowed that the government will "step up" its role in the fight against gender-based violence, pointing out that South Africa's femicide rate has increased over the last five years.

The country's second-in-command was speaking at the opening of the three-day National Men's Summit in Ballito, north of Durban on Friday.

"To stop this madness that threatens to tear our society apart, we will step up our government's role. We will make sure that those who continued to violate other people's rights are arrested and convicted," he said.

Speaking about figures for crimes committed against women, the deputy president said that, in the last three years, 134 000 rape cases were reported. Close to 120 rape cases were reported on a daily basis in the country, he added.

'Men assault women'

In addition, he said only one in three women murders were detected by police, "which implies that there could be more cases that are undetected".

"South African men assault women. One in five women experience physical violence from their intimate partner, hence we are meeting as men.

"There should be a change of mind and attitude. We have to talk as men about the pain and grievous bodily harm that we have inflicted [on] our women, our children and society," he said.

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Mabuza urged men to take collective responsibility and help to put an end to gender-based violence and asked delegates to "stand up" and say no to those who continued to rape women.

"We must defend our society. As a country, we must stand up and defend our children, women and old people, everyone who is vulnerable and weak. A society that continues to abuse women has no future. We must be agents of change and be at the cutting edge of this struggle from today," said the deputy president.

We must value life

He commended women who participated in the #TotalShutDown march on August 1 but said that men should be the ones at the forefront.

"Be brave to confront all the stereotypes. We must value life and protect life. What kind of society allows women to bear children and then kill the women?"

"No one can stop it because this is the matter that involves everyone. There is political will, we are going to demonstrate it," he said.

He applauded the Department of Social Development for being at the forefront of the fight against social ills.

He also asked men to stop behaving like "lions" and to laugh and play with their children instead.

"Stop being angry at all the time. Start eating dinner with your families," he said.

He warned men not to take the pledge to change to please their fellow male citizens but to rather "do it for the country".

"We fought apartheid and we emerged victorious. So, let's work together to end the scourge of gender-based violence. Have love for your women. Have love for your children," Mabuza said.