14 June 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called for an immediate end to the scourge of gender based violence in South Africa during the COVID-19 Lockdown as thousands of South Africans were left fearful and horrified by the senseless murder of Tshegofatso Pule this week.
According to Statistics South Africa, nearly 3000 women were murdered in the 2017/2018 period many by family, friends or men that were close to them. Many of these women were not just murdered, but suffered traumatic and torturous deaths, experiencing rape, mutilation and terror. The fear of this horrifying fate has become a reality for every woman in South Africa.
“The Federation of Unions of South Africa is horrified by the ongoing scourge of gender based violence, and the slow response, and general inaction of our government. While government is regularly committing to fight this scourge, it has still not ratified the convention on Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work C190/R206,” said FEDUSA General Secretary Riefdah Ajam.
“This should be the minimum, the most basic act that our government can do. If government is incapable of agreeing to an international treaty that seeks to protect women and vulnerable groups from violence, how can they begin to fight back against the ongoing violence inside the country?
“Over the last week we have heard countless stories of women living in fear. Waiting at a bus stop and being harassed by drivers passing by. Going to the mall and being inappropriately touched or spoken to, and if they dare to respond, fearing that the man might respond by raping and killing them. Being trapped with an abusive partner in lockdown. Trying to report violence at a police station and being laughed off”.
Ajam said enough is enough as this is a crisis that has gripped our nation for decades and must be recognised and combatted as such.
“Government needs to fast track the ratification and implementation of C190/R206, and then proceed to implement further massive female empowerment, education and protection programs to bring femicide in South Africa to an end. Government should immediately emulate the example that has been set by Uruguay and Fiji which has become the first ILO member countries in the world to ratify C190 and must also impose harsh penalties on all those found guilty of breaching the new law, because the time for talk and promises is gone,” she said.
“We will no longer accept the inaction. If government does not move to immediately ratify C190/R206, and then follow with mass funding and resources for programs to end this violence, we will have no choice but to pursue mass action. There comes a point where inaction becomes complicity, and we refuse to be complicit in the mass murder of our sisters, mothers and daughters”. #JusticeForTshegofatso #Justiceforwomen #ENDGBV #Justiceforall
For interviews please contact:
Ms Dorothy Nokuzola Ndhlovu
FEDUSA Vice President: Gender and Social Justice
076 424 8747
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2626
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096