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Message from the Deputy Minister of Police, Hon Ms Makhotso Maggie Sotyu (MP) at the Western Cape Government 16 Days of Activism Campaign Launch Event.
24 November 2014

Programme Director,
Religious and Traditional Leaders,
MEC for Community Safety, Hon. Dan Plato,
All Councillors present,
Provincial Commissioner of Police & your Team,
Members of the CPF,
All Police Officers,
Community members,
Distinguished Guest,
Youth and Children,

Goeie Middag,

MEC Dan Plato, thank you very much for inviting me in my capacity as the National Deputy Minister of Police.

This is indeed a glorious day; a good day for humanity. Our presence here today is to say to you: we are here to serve the nation. For, we seek human security as opposed to women security.

We are here to seek ways together, in which Government at all three spheres (National, Provincial and Local) can form partnerships with civil society organizations and all other community sectors, to fight violence against our most vulnerable groups.

Human security as opposed to a confined security requires that, citizens and all other community members of South Africa, change perception of their own responsibilities.

The latest crime statistics released on 19th September 2014 indicated that the Western Cape is the most violent province in South Africa, particularly against its most vulnerable groups.

Today, we need strong, responsive, organized and engaged citizens, to ensure continuously that, the needs of our most vulnerable groups, especially of our children, are prioritized.

Factual research continues to write and remind us that, violence, those adults close or known to them inflict abuse and molestation of our children.

As from 2012, the World Health Organization considers South Africa as a nation having the highest rate of domestic violence against women and children.

Yet, in the same vein, South Africa is the highest ranked country in the African continent when it comes to Gender and Development.

And, South Africa has the most powerful instrument, in the form of our Constitution, where the rights of the victims of violence are ensured and upheld.

Our Constitution entrenches a number of rights that are directly relevant to the context of gender-based violence.

Principal among these is the right to freedom from violence, which is formulated in Section 12 (1) (c): “every person has the right to freedom from all forms of violence from either public or private sources”.

The Constitution is spot on when it emphasizes the obligation/duty to protect people from all forms of violence whether public or private, because most violence against women and children, is predominantly committed within contexts, spaces and relationships that are traditionally taken as “private”.

Significant legislative reforms and developmental policies and programmes, has been adopted by South Africa, based on this Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Yet violence against women and children continues to be widespread, and the majority of these victims get younger and younger every year.

That is why this year’s theme for 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children is: “Count Me In: Together we move a non-violent South Africa forward”.

We have realized as Government that, the past 16 years we have been observing this 16-day campaign, not everybody was in, or counted in.

For many years, it was women who were in the forefront, campaigning against this scourge. As much as crime is not the sole responsibility of Government and Police, so is the case with crime against women and children.

It is not only women who must be in the forefront just because it is mostly women and girls who are subjected to rape and other sexual offences.

The President emphasized on this last year when he was here in Cape Town to launch the Anti-Rape Campaign. The President said: “What we are launching today is not a women’s campaign. It is everybody’s campaign”.

That is why today we talk about human security, because we want to stress on the security of people, and not on exclusive or confined groups within our communities.

In this essence, to “count everybody in”, means to question ourselves as to who we must protect and how that protection must be provided.

The human security we are talking about today refers to a holistic view of human security that includes the redress of structural/traditional inequalities.

In this case, we need to change the traditional ways boys and men are socialized in our society. Women and girls should no longer be viewed as subservient, and the perpetuation of male power and control must be stopped.

A study by the Medical Research Council revealed that the majority of South African men and women believe that a woman should always be subservient to her husband/spouse/partner.

We all of us here, have a role to reverse this gendered myth, as it continues to perpetuate and to re-inforce inequities between men and women. This year’s theme “count me in” is aimed at engaging men and boys in the fight against violence and rape of women and children.

For instance, we acknowledge that our traditional leaders will always wield influence and will always command respect within our people.

Therefore, we do need a traditional leadership that would take a stand against women abuse, harmful cultural practices such as “ukuthwalwa” of young girls, etc.

In conclusion, Programme Director, I would like to pay tribute to all those boys and men that are open to understand gender equality in order to contribute to the discussions and programmes that seek to fight violence against women and children for a better human security.

I want to convey as special message to our members of the South African Police Service. As we all prepare ourselves and our families to enjoy the festive season, you men and women in blue, will do the opposite.

During this time, you will be leaving your own families behind to ensure that our festive season is safe and secured. As citizens, we thus have a responsibility to look out for those families of our police officers, and ensure that they are safe as well. May God bless our police officers and their families during this festive season.

I thank you all.

Enquiries: Ms Nomsa Hani: Head of Office & Spokesperson, at cell No: 0827722053

Ms. Nomsa Hani
P.O. Box 15159
Vlaeberg 8018
Cape Town
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 772 2053

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