By Minister Faith Muthambi
Any form of violence against women and children is not part of our nation-building. South Africa’s nation-building seek to promote a non-sexist, non-racial, united democratic and prosperous society without any hidden agenda.
Today, the biggest threat to our society is violence against women and children, hence our popular slogan: “No violence against women and children!”
As a country, we need a social cohesive society where violence against women and children will be out of fashion; where people will speak out in one voice against women and children abuse; where people will fight any form of exclusion or marginalisation of women.
We need a society where all of us, irrespective of our gender, will feel the sense of belonging in our rainbow nation. Even the National Development Plan (NDP) is clear that violent means are not acceptable in our democratic country.
Remember, the NDP envisions that by 2030, all of us who will be living in this peaceful country must feel safe and have no fear of crime; that we should feel safe at our respective homes, schools, workplace and enjoying an active community life free of fear.
The NDP is clear that, in the next 15 years, we need a social cohesive society where women can walk freely in the street, while our children can play safely outside without fear.
We must always remember that in order to become a social cohesive society, where both women and children will no longer be violated, starts with the reporting of all forms of abuse against the vulnerable people in our society to the police.
In a well-oiled democratic state like ours, with an independent and effective justice system, there is no need for the so-called mob justice.
In this government, we’ve the police service which is a well-resourced professional institution staffed by highly skilled officers who value their works and committed to serve the community.
Our men and women in blue are prepared to safeguard our lives and property without discrimination, protect the peaceful against violence, and respect the rights of all to equality and justice.
As long as all of us can understand that nation-building is not a task of government alone, we can build a cohesive society that shares a common identity. We also need to understand that we need to double our efforts to eradicate this scourge in our communities.
As South Africans, we need to show the world like we did during the dawn of our democracy that gender based violent crimes don’t build nations. We are known as people who flourish in terms of finding solutions to our challenges through robust dialogues as a way of reaching out to one another.
My fellow South Africans, we know that it is not easy, but we’ve no choice, as we need to build one national identity out of multiple identities based on class, gender, age, language, geographic location, and religion.
We don’t need divisions anymore, we need a society with a value system that is based on Ubuntu, a society which promotes caring for and respecting others, and one way of achieving this is to refrain from all forms of abuse against women and children.
With the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children around the corner, as a nation, let’s intensify our efforts of no violence against women and children. We can do this through encouraging every member of our society to understand that violence against women and children is NOT a government or criminal justice system problem, but a societal problem that needs all of us working together.
The campaign takes place every year from November 25 to December 10. South Africa adopted the campaign in 1998 as one of the intervention strategies towards creating a society free of violence. The campaign continues to raise awareness amongst South Africans about the negative impact of violence against women and children on all members of the community.
As government, we are challenging all silent gender-based victims to talk about painful experiences so that they can get help. We are also urging our children to be brave by reporting bullying to their parents, teachers, community structures or law enforcement agencies.
Nation-building will become a reality when all forms of abusive behaviour against women and children are totally eradicated in our society. So, in true Madiba style, we say it is in our hands to stop violence against women and children.
Faith Muthambi is the Minister of Communications