Speed Up Femicide Act and Specialized High Courts to Fight Gender Based Violence – FEDUSA
25 November 2019
As the nation marks another 16 days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children on Monday, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on government to speed up the legislative process of enacting a Femicide Act as promised by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence in 2018 and to upgrade the current system of Sexual Offences Courts to fully fledged Specialized High Courts that will deal speedily and effectively with the scourge of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.
The nation urgently needs both the promised new Femicide law – which seems to have fizzled out since the heady days of the GBV Summit last year- and a network of regional institutions manned by specialized gender violence judicial officers to give if efficiencies of scale as the current system of 92 low key Sexual Offences Courts introduced by government in 2013, with a further 11 promised early in the year, have failed to make a dent into the heavy back log of GBV cases. As also promised in the Summit and as a vital characteristic; such specialized courts should see the state not only routinely opposing bail and parole applications for perpetrators of rape and murder against women and children; but also imposing harsher sentences.
The recent case in which Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe of the Western Cape High Court timeously sentenced Luyanda Botha a former Post Office worker for raping and killing former University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana to three life sentences should serve as a national gold standard.
The international character of the 16 days of activism, which runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, also allows South Africa to rope in significant logistical and technical support from progressive international bodies such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) that was in the forefront of the global campaign GBV to domesticate Convention 190 on The Elimination of Violence And Harassment In The World Of Work; which the ILO adopted during its centenary celebrations in June this year in Geneva.
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FEDUSA Acting General Secretary
079 696 2625
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072 637 8096
Email: research @fedusa.org.za