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KZN aims for 365 days of activism

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KwaZulu-Natal is set to take the 16 Days campaign beyond its current timeframe, with the provincial government having developed an action plan to curb gender-based violence throughout the year.

Premier Senzo Mchunu says the 365 Days Provincial Action Plan has been crafted with the express aim of mobilising people around the province to focus on ending violence against women and children the entire year.

He announced the action plan during the launch of the provincial 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, held at Swayimane in Pietermaritzburg.

Swayimane has experienced an increase in the number of cases of sexual abuse of women.

Mchunu said through the plan, the province was demonstrating its commitment to sustained action, coupled with dedicated and permanent institutional mechanisms.

Co-ordinated through the Office of the Status of Women and Children in the Office of the Premier, the 365 Days Action Plan aims to:

·  address the root causes of violence

·  improve violence prevention and victim protection services;

·  respond to the health and economic needs of those affected by gender-based violence; and

·  support legislation and its enforcement across all spheres of government in the province.

Mchunu urged leaders to get behind the campaign to restore the moral fibre in society.

“It is unfortunate that we assemble here under the dark cloud of an unprecedented increase in reports of the abuse, both physical and sexual, and the increase in violence perpetrated against the most vulnerable members of our society – women and children in KwaSwayimane and the rest of the province,” said the premier.

He said government was steadfast in its commitment, which it made in the dawn of democracy, to put women’s issues at the top of its agenda.

“We did so understanding that for many years, women have been at the receiving end of the most brutal system, the apartheid regime. Next year, we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of our democracy. We owe this freedom to the founding mothers of this democracy. It is an indictment to all of us that women and children remain the most vulnerable members of society.”

United in action

Finance MEC Ina Cronjé, in her capacity as uMgungundlovu District political champion, hosted the event, which also marked Operation Sukuma Sakhe Cabinet Day.

The day started with the provincial cabinet visiting all the war rooms in uMshwathi Municipality. This was followed by a peaceful walk by government leaders and the community, where those present voice condemnation for the social ills.

Government and the community held talks on social matters and service delivery issues at Swayimane sports field.

16 Days is an annual awareness raising campaign observed globally. The purpose of the campaign is to address policy and legal issues; as well as campaign for the prevention of violence against women and children, and to call for the elimination of all forms of gender based violence.

The international theme is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women’.

In South Africa, the theme for this year is ‘Vikela Mzansi – Kwanele! Communities United in Preventing Violence against Women and Children’.

Acting Government Communications CEO Phumla Williams has encouraged South Africans to renew their commitment to end the scourge of gender based violence. – SAnews.gov.za

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