Executive Mayor of ZFM District MunicipalityMayors from Local MunicipalitiesCouncillors from the District and other Local MunicipalitiesRepresentatives from various NGOsRepresentatives from various CBOsOfficials from ZFM DistrictOfficials from National Tourism DepartmentLadies and GentlemenGood dayI take this opportunity to greet you and thank you for coming in numbers to this gathering. This is an indication to me that you also want to see the challenges facing our communities be eliminated.At this point in time, all of us are aware that there are two pandemics that we are grappling with. One is COVID-19, for which a vaccine has not yet been found, and the other, the Gender Based Violence and Femicide, threatening to destroy our humanness. Let me start with GBVF, since this is man-made and can be stopped. The scourge of Gender Based Violence and Femicide in South Africa has reached a point where it threatens our being as humans. Our dignity as a people is being degraded, so is our human- ness. If we continue to be silent this will mean that we are party to those that are perpetrators of this violence.The President of the Republic, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa has again reminded all of us, when he gave his address on the 9 August 2020 that, as we mark Women's Day this year, South Africa is in the grip of two pandemics - the coronavirus pandemic and the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide. He continued to say ever more women and children are being abused and losing their lives at the hands of men. Instead of us celebrating that we have made gains in advancing women's rights, in broadening women's access to education, in the provision of health care and social support to women, and in improving their participation in the economy and decision-making, the joy is dampened by the tears of families who have lost their sisters, daughters and mothers to violence perpetrated by men. As if that was not enough, these days children are kidnapped whilst with their parents. A very scary challenge that is emerging. There is even a suggestion that children should now be laced like dogs and chained to their parents whilst playing and walking. Really, is this the life that we want for our children?Surely this is not what we thought the country will turn to be when we took power in 1994. We said to the people, we going to build a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it. Those who fought in the liberation struggle, did so for a free, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa that is united and prosperous.How then can we talk about unity when our women and children are abused in this way? Can we continue and talk about prosperity? Surely this cannot continue whilst we as organization within the community stand and watch. We can no longer as a nation ignore the deafening cries of women and children for protection, for help and for justice. The President indicated further that, it has been eleven months since he addressed a joint sitting of Parliament to announce an Emergency Response Action Plan to combat gender-based-violence and Femicide. Have we tapped into this Response Action Plan? What is it that we are doing to put an end to this scourge?We are here today to find a solution that we will together implement. It can not be Government alone that comes up with suggestion. We are in this together. We really need each other more than ever before. Our women and children need to be protected.We need to pause and ask ourselves, who are these perpetrators of this violence within our community? What are the causes of such violent crimes? Unless we know who they are and what they are suffering from, we would not be able to identify the diagnosis for this sickness.The purpose of our engagement today is to activate the mobilisation by all our community structures to speak against all forms of abuse, be it at home, at work, in the community, in churches and in many more institutions where our women and children find themselves. As we do so, we must be mindful of the fact that, COVID-19 is still with us. We are in the first day of Lockdown Level 1, but we are still under Lockdown. We need to remind one another of all the precautions to be taken as we fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic.The number of those infected are increasing by day. This might be due to the ignorance by our communities and them defying the COVID-19 regulations. It is our duty to continuously remind our communities of ways to protect themselves and others. As we are now in level 1, we need to adhere to the reviewed COVID-19 protocols.We are moving to a new phase in our response to the pandemic.
We must continue to be responsible.
Play your part – download the COVID Alert App.● All South Africans with a smartphone are encouraged to download COVID Alert South Africa mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Restriction on social activities and gathering are eased.
South Africa is open for international travel.
Government is scaling up coronavirus testing.
It’s time to build our economy.
We continue to support the vulnerable from the impact of COVID-19.
We are holding those involved in COVID-19 corruption to account.
We are strengthening specialised commercial crime courts, which will help expedite COVID-related cases.I am opening the floor for our engagement on what we do, together as community-based organizations and NGOs, as we move towards a GENERATION EQUALITY: Realizing Women’s Rights for Equal Future.I thank you.