The ANC Women’s League has called for stronger steps to deal with the scourge of violence against women and children.
The league held a briefing on Tuesday to challenge what they have deemed the “lenient” sentencing of abusers.
“Currently a first-time offender receives a mere 15 years’ imprisonment for murder and the second receives 25 years’ sentencing. On rape they receive 10 years for a first-time offender and 20 years for a second-time offender. This is a slap on the wrist,” the league’s secretary-general, Meokgo Matuba said.
Chemical castration was an option that the ANC’s women’s wing believed should be interrogated.
“We need to conduct a comparative analysis on countries who have implemented castration against numbers of cases in such countries, to ascertain whether such laws have affected a decrease in the number of cases of gender-based violence,” Matuba said at the briefing.
The women’s league said it engaged with a number of stakeholders after numerous reports of women getting murdered by their partners and going missing in the last week.
This included the murder and rape of a 19-year-old University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana. She was allegedly attacked by a post office worker, Luyanda Botha.
We need to confront violence against women and children with the same viciousness it presents to us.
“The numbers have been escalating despite our efforts and that of civil society, political formations and the public at large. Hence as the women’s league we believe that we must deepen our campaigns and efforts in dealing with this scourge. We need to confront violence against women and children with the same viciousness it presents to us,” Matuba said.
They presented a programme of action that will be implemented in the next coming weeks aimed at creating awareness. Women were today expected to sport black doeks in solidarity with those who have been victims of gender-based violence.
The league has also called President Cyril Ramaphosa to “declare a state of emergency [and] to amend sentencing and prosecution of offenders”.
“The president of the country, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, has declared gender-based violence a national crisis. Therefore, there is an urgent will petition the president to call for a state of emergency and children,” according to Matuba.
The league has urged women from branch level to join them in marching to their local police stations to demand answers on all the unresolved cases of abuse in their areas.
An immediate programme of action to be led by the league’s young women’s desk includes a stay-away that is encouraging women to miss work next week Monday.