After much outcry and calls for the gender-based violence against women to be declared a state of emergency, President Cyril Ramaphosa broke his silence on the matter. Women in the country have expressed how unsafe they feel, as there were reports of a woman or child being murdered on nearly a daily basis in the past week, spawning social media hashtags such as #aminext.

Addressing the brutal murders of Uyinene Mrwetyana and boxing champion Leighandre Jegels, Ramphosa said that South Africa is currently facing a dark period. While he commended police for the arrests of the suspects who were linked to both the brutal murders, he said the rapes, assaults and murders of women are staining the country’s conscience.

A 42-year-old man confessed to the murder and rape of 19-year-old Mrwetyana, and left the gallery shocked when he said that she “made it difficult” for him while he bludgeoned her to death with a scale, as she took long to die. According to Ramaphosa, her murder is just one of many which highlights just how unsafe South African women are – in their homes, or in the streets.

On Monday, a 14-year-old was found murdered and raped in the her grandmother’s backyard, adding to the already sky-high body count of women whose lives were taken this year alone.

“We have just commemorated Women’s Month. Sixty-three years after the women of 1956 marched for the right to live in freedom, women in this country live in fear – not of the apartheid police but of their brothers, sons, fathers and uncles. We should all hang our heads in shame,” Ramaphosa said. “In 2019, The Presidency signed the Declaration on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide with various civil society formations and has directed that urgent attention be given to its implementation, particularly on immediate measures around support to victims and access to shelters and places of safety.”

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.