DA’s urgent debate on Violence Against Women scheduled for Thursday

The DA welcomes Parliament acceding to our request for an urgent debate of national importance on violence against women, which will go ahead in the National Assembly, on Thursday 01 June 2017.
I publicly call today for Ministers Fikile Mbalula, Susan Shabangu and Michael Masutha to address this debate. Their portfolios of Police, Women and Justice are key to protecting women in South Africa and the people of our country deserve that they come before Parliament and account. They must address the nation on their plans and emergency responses to the spate of violence across our nation.
The scourge of violence against women has been highlighted recently by the string of publicised horrific attacks and murders of Karabo Mokoena, Lerato Moloi, Bongeka Phungula, Popi Qwabe, Courtney Pieters and Sasha Arendse, among many others.
The fact is that violence against women and children occurs on a daily basis, and without focussed government intervention is only increasing.
The ANC government has entirely abandoned its responsibility to make our country safe for women by not properly addressing issues of gender violence and patriarchy. But on Thursday, the Ministers who are mandated to ensure safety and increasing empowerment of women, have a chance to take the nation into their confidence. Ministers Mbalula, Shabangu and Masutha have a lot of answering to do, and the DA fully expects that they will engage this debate with the seriousness it demands.
The fact is that often ANC Ministers also actively contribute to the perpetuation of undermining women, such as the Minister of Women, Susan Shabangu’s, comments that Karabo Mokoena was “weak” and therefore became a victim of abuse which ended in her murder. Worse still was the Minister’s refusal to apologise and retract her statements, but only to clarify them with equally dangerous adjectives.
Mbalula, Shabangu and Masutha need to account to the National Assembly and to the country as to why they have failed on this issue and state what government policies, strategies and programmes are in place to end this suffering. Empty promises and failed plans of action have done nothing to keep our women safe to date.
Thursday’s debate is fundamentally important for addressing the nation on this critical issue. Parliament, and the implicated Ministers in particular, must use this opportunity to seek and implement effective solutions and to rise in defence of women and children who far too often fall victim to violence.