A Review of the National Strategic Plan: South Africa an Odyssey of Domestic Violence

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, 8 Mar 2021

Prof. Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

“The Female Suffering Continues”

6 Mar 2021 – General Domestic Violence (DV) has risen concomitantly, with the different global lockdowns.  The progeny of this social malady is Gender Based Violence (GBV) with Violence Against Women and Children (VAWAC), a sub-genre of Domestic Violence.  Any reference to GBV must be made in the context of DV.  The factors which cause DV are equally applicable to GBV, as well as globally and in certain countries where females literally have no rights under the false pretence of religious doctrine, the problem is not ever “mediarised: as in democratic countries.

In South Africa The Honourable President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa must be commended that the pandemic of GBV has been discussed in the hallowed precincts of the South African Parliament and has resulted in official plans been drawn up in the war against GBV.  South Africa is the only country in Africa and probably in the world which has acknowledged the existence of GBV in the people of the Rainbow Nation and has proceeded to do something about the social malady, which has resulted in the abuse and eventually culminating in murder of the fairer sex, at the hands of perpetrators of the violence, who themselves, have been abused as children and exposed to inter-parental violence in the community.

The malady of GBV is based on multifactorial causes, and trying to analyse the problem scientifically, can be misleading and indeed leads to no solution.

Hence, the Parliament in South Africa, has formulated The Gender-Based Violence and Femicide National Strategic Plan (GBVF-NSP), which was produced by the Interim Steering Committee established in April 2019[i] to respond to the gender-based violence and femicide crisis following the historic 02nd November 2018 Presidential Summit on this subject.[ii]  This was an upfront acknowledgement that the epidemic of gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa is a national crisis.

The Presidential Summit against Gender-based Violence and Femicide is primarily an outcome of the mobilisation efforts by women living in South Africa who, on 1 August 2018, marched in all nine provinces to express their indignation against the increasing levels of gender-based violence and femicide in the country, coupled with the ineffective judicial system, over the past years.[iii]

The Summit concluded with the signing of a Declaration that government, business, labour and civil society would collaborate to conceptualise, drive and implement concrete measures to eradicate gender-based violence and femicide. Parties to the Declaration called for a multi sectoral structure to be constituted to coordinate the implementation of a National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.[iv]

As is customary, this summit was source of great media hype and fanfare, where thousands of delegates from all walks of life, were hosted to great feasting and entertainment, in between the business at hand.  The media pictures will confirm the festivities. of extravagant proportions.[v] The Summit further resolved that an Interim Steering Committee be established to lead the process of establishing structures, developing programmes, and mobilising resources.

The outcome of this great celebratory event was the formulation of multi-pronged remedy, constituting a strategic approach, against GBV in its entirety.  The prongs of this attack are: –

  • Urgently respond to victims and survivors of GBV.
  • Broadening access to justice for survivors.
  • Changing social norms and behaviour through high-level awareness raising and prevention campaigns.
  • Strengthening existing architecture and promoting accountability
  • The creation of more economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable to abuse because of poverty.

The author has alluded to and discussed most of the points raised above in my previous report.[vi] These need no further elaboration. The South African Government is deeply committed to galvanising support for this plan by creating a permanent structure to steer its implementation, as well also budgeting for it ,over the next triennium.

Since then, SARS Cov-2 has struck the nation and perhaps this was the reason why much progress has not been achieved.  In the meantime, women are murdered and continue to be abused.

I am therefore of the opinion that while South Africa is excellent in setting up committees and drawing up strategic plans, at grass route level, there is no solution and I challenge any reader to show me substantive evidence of how this plan has changed the lives of our wives, sisters, daughters, mothers and others, who are all potential victims of DV and GBV.  These ladies are also prospective “candidates” for being murdered.  The future scenario is indeed dismal in South Africa and this cannot be attributed to economic constraints, Covid 19, apartheid legacy, poverty, but simply on the inherent violent nature of some South Africans.  These same individuals see purchasing alcohol as a greater priority to feeding their malnourished family.  This, prevalent ethos is extremely bleak for the very social fibre of all South Africans.   We as a “Rainbow Nation” must collectively take the blame for the malady of GBV.  Failure to acknowledge this will result in nothing happening, no matter how many meetings we convene, how many strategic plans we draw up and how much funds we make available to counteract the problem.

Finally, it does not matter, how long we wait, for either the scourge of DV and GBV to be removed from the society, is here to outlive us and the community will continue to suffer.

Notes:

[i] https://www.samrc.ac.za/reports/national-strategic-plan-gender-based-violence-femicide#:~:text=The%20Gender-based%20Violence%20and%20Femicide%20National%20Strategic%20Plan,coherent%20strategic%20policy%20and%20programming%20framework%20to%20strengthen

[ii] summit-declaration.pdf (www.gov.za)

[iii] https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201903/summit-declaration.pdf

[iv] 1NSP GBV&F 2020-2030FIN2 (samrc.ac.za)

[v] https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201903/summit-declaration.pdf

[vi] TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » The Spectre of Domestic Violence and Its Progeny: A South African Perspective

______________________________________________

Prof.  Hoosen Vawda, BSc, MBChB (Natal), ATLS, ACLS (NZ), PhD (Wits):
-Community Health and Indigent Programme Services–Social Outreach, Medical Programme (Not for Profit Organisation)
-Lifestyle Change Management – PR: 1501305, MP: 0193801
-email: vawda@ukzn.ac.za


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Mar 2021.

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