End violence against women, culture of silence – S. African president


South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has called on all South Africans to end the culture of silence around gender-based violence and report perpetrators to the police.

This comes as the body of a young woman was found dumped under a tree in Dobsonville, Soweto on Friday.

“It is a dark and shameful week for us as a nation. Criminals have descended to even greater depths of cruelty and callousness. It simply cannot continue,” President Ramaphosa said.

As many as 51% of women in South Africa had experienced violence at the hands of someone they were in a relationship with, the president’s statement said.

Mr. Ramaphosa condemned the brutality of recent killings, naming three of the victims, two of whom have become the subject of Twitter campaigns calling for justice:

Tshegofatso Pule – #JusticeForTshego began trending after the pregnant 28-year-old was found hanging from a tree in Johannesburg on Monday. No arrests have been made yet.

Naledi Phangindawo – the 25-year-old was stabbed to death in the harbour city of Mossel Bay last Saturday. Those using the hashtag #JusticeforNaledi want the suspect, who is now in police custody, to be denied bail. He is believed to be her partner.

On Friday another body of a young woman had been dumped under a tree in Johannesburg’s Soweto township.

Police later named her as Sanele Mfaba, sparking another hashtag that began trending on Saturday – #JusticeforSanelisiwe – calling for more to be done to protect women.

“The manner in which these defenceless women were killed points to an unconscionable level of barbarism and lack of humanity,” the president’s statement said.

“We note with disgust that at a time when the country is facing the gravest of threats from the [coronavirus]pandemic, violent men are taking advantage of the eased restrictions on movement to attack women and children.”

For two months, South Africa had one of the toughest lockdowns in the world. (Source: BBC)