South Africa’s Ramaphosa pledges to tackle violence against women
President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted Wednesday that South Africa is one of “the most unsafe places in world to be a woman” and announced an emergency plan to stop the resurgence in violence against them.
Comparing the levels of such attacks to a war zone, Ramaphosa told a special session of the two chambers of parliament that “there is a dark and heavy shadow across our land. Women and children are under siege”.
His remarks come after Women’s Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reported that more than 30 women were killed by their spouses in August alone.
Police reported a nationwide average of 110 rapes a day last year.
Promising legislation to force longer minimum sentences for crimes against women and children, Ramaphosa said a series of reforms would curb “male-perpetrated violence”.
“Those who are found guilty for those charges should not be eligible for parole,” he said.
“If sentenced to a life sentence, this must mean what it is, life in prison.”
Ramaphosa said his government would release an extraordinary 1.1 billion rand ($75 million) budget over six months to fund the plan.
He also announced the creation of a fund for private companies to finance prevention and education programmes to stop violence against women.
We will “ensure that justice is served, perpetrators are held to account,” Ramaphosa said.