South Africa, JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said that now was the time for South Africa to change societal attitudes that allowed sexism, chauvinism and patriarchy to thrive.
The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence starts on Wednesday, 25th Nov, and in his weekly newsletter, the president also focused on the role that society should play in ending gender-based violence (GBV).
This year Ramaphosa is calling on citizens to help the government make a difference in the lives of women and children.
“The 16 Days of Activism campaign affirms the need for all sectors of society to play their part in the fight against gender-based violence. It is up to us all, as individuals and communities, to bring about the change we so sorely need,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “It is about driving fundamental change in societal attitudes that allow sexism, chauvinism, and patriarchy to thrive.”
He said that not only did GBV have a devastating impact on the health and safety of women and girls, but it also affected the entire society, politics, and the economy.
Ramaphosa acknowledged the work done by NGO’s and communities to combat GBV, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown period when the government struggled to reach those in need.
“This country’s women and children, and indeed all the people of South Africa will forever remain grateful for the work of our robust, activist, and principled civil society organisations and workers,” he said.
According to a 2017 study, the economic cost of gender-based violence in South Africa was up to R42 billion a year to respond with the needed social services, shelters and health care.
The president said that eradicating GBV was extremely important not only for moral and human rights but also to realise the country’s developmental potential.