The 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children was initiated in 1991 by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute. It was held by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. It is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, International Human Rights Day.
The campaign began in 1998 in South Africa. The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) has been in the forefront of using the campaign to raise awareness and mobilising society to unite and fight the scourge of gender based violence 365 days a year in South Africa.
Notwithstanding the high level of gender based violence in South Africa, the ANCWL applauds the ANC led government, under His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, for strides made in addressing issues related to gender based violence. His Excellency President Ramaphosa reported during the launch of 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children that since he announced an Emergency Plan that has seen R1.6 billion of government funding reprioritised towards programmes to tackle gender-based violence, the government had some notable achievements.
Amongst other achievements, His Excellency stated that:
- National and provincial 24-hour call centres to deal with complaints against SAPS and legal officers in matters of gender-based violence are up and running. Government has achieved its target of attending to all complaints within seven days.
- The SAPS has allocated 312 new recruits currently undergoing basic training to the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units.
- Nearly 4,500 SAPS members have also received training on the provision of survivor-centered services.
- A new sexual offences court was opened in Limpopo Province in Sibasa. Eleven regional courts across all provinces have been identified for upgrade.
- New CCTV systems that allow survivors to testify in privacy have been upgraded at 38 regional courts.
- Government employees who work with children and mentally disabled persons are being vetted against the National Register of Sex Offenders. To date, over 1,200 officials have been vetted, including prosecutors and members of the SAPS.
- Provinces are busy identifying underutilised buildings that can be refurbished and used as shelters for victims of gender based violence.Four properties in Pretoria have already been refurbished and will open as shelters in the first week of December.
The ANCWL calls the ANC led government to move with speed in reforming existing laws around bail and sentencing. We call for life sentence to be defined as- spending rest of life in prison with no parole. We also advocate for no bail to those arrested and charged for cases related to gender based violence.
16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign is about raising awareness. The fight against gender based violence is 24/7 and 365 days. The ANCWL pleads with all members of the society to be active participants in the fight against gender based violence.
ANCWL Secretary General
082 652 3131