Women are not weak, Minister. Our government is weak

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Women, Denise Robinson MP, on the Debate on Violence Against Women and Children
Honourable Speaker,
Today we are united in mourning the tragic loss of life of many women and children through brutal rape, violence and murder in this country.
On behalf of the DA, I wish to express my sincere condolences to all who have suffered loss.
We as parliamentarians and particularly the Executive should be taking the lead in trying to find solutions to this tragic situation where the sanctity of life seems to mean nothing.
In the words of Professor Amanda Gouws, a former commissioner of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), “more political will is needed to transform the justice and policing system so that the horror of abuse can end”.
Members, let us today get the political will to address violence against women.
Throughout the ages in our tumultuous history, South African women have been seen as brave and strong – supporting the struggle for freedom and independence.  From the riveting account of a  Zulu family set in 1879, “Eyes in the night” by Nomavenda Mathiane tells of the battle for  survival during the Zulu conflicts;  to the women who bravely marched to the Union Buildings in 1956  demanding their rights, to those who penned the Women’s charter in 1994, and wrote:
“We, Women of South Africa, claim our rights to full and equal participation in the creation of a non-sexist, non-racist democratic society.”
Yet, women’s subordination and oppression has taken many forms under patriarchy, custom, tradition and racism.  Oppression has continued unabated as today we have to face the fact that women are brutally murdered and raped on a daily basis.
Women should not have to live in fear, yet this has become the reality for every woman in South Africa.
Now those brave activists who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 , chanting  “wa thinta abafazi wa thint imbokodo’” have been reduced to a tame ANC Women’s League which now tows subserviently to the patriarchal attitudes of the “BIG MAN”  defending him before and during his rape trial when “Kwezi”, the daughter of his friend, had to submit to his sexual demands.
Instead of standing up for the rights of the victim Kwezi, the ANCWL mocked and derided others who supported her and eventually drove her out of the country.
The once proud ANCWL has been reduced to the ANC JZDL, the ANC’s Jacob Zuma Defence League, instead of being defenders of the victims of abuse.  Tragic indeed!
Last week our current minister, Susan Shabangu made the shocking statement after the murder of Karabo Mokoena, saying that she was “weak” and hence became the victim of violence.
How dare she say that to the grieving family when Karabo had been strong in reporting previous abuse, and assisting in shelters to help other victims?
I was at the court, I spoke to Karabo’s broken and traumatised family.
No parent should have to go through that anguish and then have an unsympathetic comment like the one made by the Minister for Women, who is supposed to champion the cause of women.
What about providing solutions, Minister?
What about helping children to be prepared for life to be able to discern psychological abuse?
What about encouraging everyone to speak out and not remain silent when there is gender violence and abuse taking place within the home?
Women are not weak, Minister- our government is weak.
We urge government to support programmes from organisations like Family South Africa (FAMSA), The Parent Centre and Sonke Gender Justice and to make them accessible to all so that our hurting families and society can be healed.
Unfortunately, our government has reduced the funding for many non-governmental organisations (NGO) that are doing valuable work, due to financial constraints.
How about cutting down on your frequent visits to the very expensive Oyster Box Hotel, Minister Dlamini and making more money available for NGOs or SASSA grants.
One also has to ask, what are the police and government going to do to prioritise the safety of women?
In many occasions, there are no J88 forms and rape kits available at Police Stations or Clinics.
At 189 Police Stations, there are no Victim Friendly Units for interrogation.
Under a DA Government, we will go back to the basics. We will increase the visibility of SAPS with more patrols on the streets.
We will encourage women to speak out and we will ensure that women are no longer victimised when they approach police officers for help.
The Victim’s Charter needs to be prominently displayed at police stations.
Government needs to increase the number of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units so that the areas of operation are reduced in size, with decent vehicles, thus promoting greater efficiency.
More Thuthuzela Centres and shelters should be built throughout the country, especially in rural areas where they currently aren’t accessible.
The DA envisions a country built on the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity.
A country where girls are seen as being equal to boys in every aspect of life.
A country where women will yet again feel safe and no longer fear for their lives.
We urge every South African to vote for the country we envision in 2019 which will be a turning point, with safety and security of persons uppermost, protected by the rule of law and our constitution.
I thank you