Our Lament Over Gender Based Violence is Not Enough

The SACC is an instrument and servant of its members.

Media Statement

12 June 2020

Issued by the office of the SACC General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana.
  The horrific killings of two women Naledi Phangindawo of Mossel Bay, and Tshegofatso Pule of Soweto, so far from each other, yet so intertwined with each other in their shared horror, call for much more than media statements. It is also impossible not to say something when we have seen the escalation of this scourge that has defined South Africa in negative terms globally.

South Africa has been here before many, many, and many times before! Women are abused, raped and killed at the deadly whim of men who see them as personal possessions to own and dispose of at their pleasure and displeasure. Each time we learn of such killings, the country cries out, ‘Not again!’ But, it happens again and again. As the South African Council of Churches (SACC) we call for the justice system to be empowered to deal with the offenders harshly. Our lament is no longer enough!

We desperately need more direct, life changing programmes – supported at the highest level by government – that will transform the character of our society. UN Women, led by South Africa’s Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, provides a well-researched evidence based programme that draws from global experiences and models for working with men and boys to end violence against women and girls. Its key focus is prevention of such attitudes and actions through “promoting respectful relationships and gender equality” early on in life

We need to learn from such programmes as we urgently need systematic and multi-pronged resocialisation programmes – on public radio and public television; in the school curriculum led by Department of Basic Education; in the initiation programmes of religious institutions and the various ethnic cultural initiations to adulthood, overseen by kings and amakhosi.

We ask all institutions and membership organisations of all types, including religious bodies, to commit to use their spaces for a concerted mindset change campaign against gender based violence, and for government to use its institutional instruments to promote and support this.