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Buffalo City Metro leads march against gender-based violence

By Yolanda Palezweni - Aug 4, 2017
Buffalo City Metro leads march against gender-based violence

The Buffalo City Metro Municipality (BCMM), in collaboration with local stakeholders, on Thursday led a march to the East London Magistrate's Court against gender-based violence and child abuse.

Present at the march included the victims of the scourge together with families, who lost loved ones because of gender-based violence.

Speaking to RNEWS, an uncle of a three-year-old girl, who was recently brutally killed in Second Creeks, Parkside in East London, Collin Hendricks, said that his family has not found peace ever since the incident as the murderer hasn’t been arrested yet.

According to Hendricks, the three year-old girl went to play with other kids outside her home and she never came back home. He said that in the evening, when they noticed that she had not returned home, they went out and looked for her everywhere.

Her body was only found the following morning in the bushes near her home.

Hendricks said that the police are busy with the investigation and no one has been arrested yet.

“The family is still devastated and pained with the loss of our child, and what pains us the most is that the person behind this hasn’t been arrested yet,” said Hendricks.

“Every morning, we wake up and hope this all a nightmare our child will come back. We hope the police can fast-track the investigation and find this person and be locked away for life.”

Addressing those gathered at the march, BCMM Deputy Executive Mayor, Zoliswa Matana, said that the aim of the march was to bring hope to the victims of gender-based violence and to urge the Justice and Security Cluster, which includes the police, prosecutors and the courts, to effectively deal with the perpetrators.

“We as the BCMM, together with the our esteemed stakeholders, are concerned about the scourge of the gender-based violence perpetuated against women and girl children in our city. We have noted, with concern, the recent reported cases of gender-based violence within the Metro that are appalling,” said Deputy Executive Mayor Matana.

She added that they have observed, with dismay, the manner in which some of the cases are handled by the courts leading to the perpetrators either being given bail or the cases dragging out for too, which means the victims and their families have to wait for long periods before finding closure.

She further added that, everyday women and children are raped, killed and brutalised by men, whom they interact with.

“Today, we are saying enough is enough; we call for an end to this senseless violence unleashed on women and children bodies,” she said.

Speaking at the march, East London police spokesperson, Warrant Officer, Hazel Mqala, said that women must unite and fight the scourge of gender-based violence escalating in the communities.

She also appealed to communities to work with the police and report perpetrators - while understanding that investigations can time in order to secure convictions.

“Women are being abused by their partners all in the name of love; women need to stand up and report these crimes and collaborate with the police,” W/O Mqala said.

Also speaking at the march, Men on A Mission representative, Thabo Mkencele, said that they fully support the march as it is the men's role to support and provide for women and children.

“We urge all men to come out and talk about this wide spreading challenge in the nation and to fix it because the nation is falling apart,” said Mkencele.

He added that, if they can fix a man, everything will be fine.

BCM Council Speaker, Alferd Mtsi, echoed him and said that it all begins at home - men need to stop violating their wives and children and rather protect them

“We all have the common objective, we will continue fighting this scourge until justice is served,” said Mtsi.

A memorandum of demands was delivered to the offices of the East London Chief Magistrate and the Department of Safety and Security, Eastern Cape Region and the South African Police Service.

East London Chief Magistrate, Valerie Gqiba, accepted the memorandum and promised to forward it to the Minister of Justice in the province.

She said that the Magistrate Court will make sure that cases involving gender-based violence are prioritised and dealt with accordingly.

The BCMM promised to continue working with the community to fight the crime, while supporting affected families.

“We will be with the families until they find closure and until we see that the justice is served,” concluded Deputy Executive Mayor, Matana.

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