26 August 2013
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana were among those who joined a National Men’s Rally at Johannesburg Stadium on Saturday to reaffirm their commitment to ending gender-based violence in the country.
Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele, Deputy Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Obed Bapela, and City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau also took part in the rally.
Held under the theme “Not in my name”, the rally sought to encourage men to play an active part in ending violence directed towards women and children, and to mobilise men to take the lead in changing negative social norms perpetuated in the name of culture and religion.
The event was organised by Brothers for Life and the South African Aids National Council, which is chaired by Motlanthe.
The Deputy President called on men to take a firm stand against gender-based violence, and for those who witnessed it not to turn a blind eye.
He also acknowledged that it was not only women and children who were at the receiving end of abuse, but that it affected those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transexual and intersexed (LGBTI) community.
Xingwana echoed Motlanthe’s sentiments, saying: “Men and boys also experience gender-based violence. We therefore encourage men to break the silence and report these crimes.”
The minister said one of the key perpetuators of violence was the abuse of alcohol and drugs. “We jointly should fight the use of drugs … that are causing instability amongst our youth in our communities. It is time to reclaim our communities and instil the culture of ubuntu amongst our youth.”
According to the 2012 South African Police Service statistics, 64 514 sexual offences occurred between April 2011 and March 2012, meaning a staggering 176 cases per day.
Xingwana called on men to commit their names to the Brothers for Life pledge to help break the cycle of women and child abuse.