Legislation: Bills tackling gender-based violence welcomed

Civil society organizations have welcomed the adoption of two pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening laws fighting gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). A Cape Argus report says the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill and the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill were adopted at the weekend by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice & Correctional Services. Anti-GBV group Ilitha Labantu’s spokesperson, Siyabulela Monakali, said the legislation would help enforce the law, and help GBVF survivors to receive the justice they deserved.

However, Monakali said another urgent action was needed to accompany the laws, which would require relevant stakeholders, including the justice system, to go into communities to implement measures or programmes that would help to prevent the scourge of GBVF. Zintle Khobeni, the chairperson of The Great People of SA, said what mattered most about developing laws and enacting them, was effective implementation and monitoring. Khobeni said the department must live up to its promises to the people and, more importantly, its constitutional obligation to protect and promote human rights. Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said levels of GBVF in SA were among the highest in the world and were acknowledged as a second pandemic.

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