President Jacob Zuma has directed the police to treat crimes against women and children in South Africa as priority crimes. Zuma disclosed this while speaking on Wednesday at the Galeshewe Stadium, in Kimberly on the occasion of the country’s 61st Women’s Day.
“It is not good; we need to prosecute those who abuse women. All persons, regardless of positions in society, must face the full might of the law when they attack women and children,” Zuma declared.
The president said the government would continue to prioritise women issues, pointing out that the majority of beneficiaries of social grants in the country were women and children.
Zuma paid tribute to the brave women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9th August 1956 to protest against the pass law that restricted blacks to designated areas of the country.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini used the occasion to heap praise on President Zuma, a day after he narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in him.
Dlamini, who is also the ANC Women’s League President, attacked those who tried to remove Zuma from office through a motion of no confidence in Parliament on Tuesday.
“The enemy started with its tricks long ago and they cannot hold themselves. They are not patient. They will prefer a coup rather than the elections because they know they will never defeat us in the elections,” said Dlamini.
The minister called on men from across all sectors of society, including ANC leaders, to show their commitment to fighting violence against women.
Meanwhile, Police Affairs Minister Fikile Mbalula has confirmed that Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana will be arraigned this week for allegedly assaulting a woman at a nightclub in Johannesburg last weekend.
There have been calls by opposition parties and civil rights activists for the arrest of Manana who was visibly absent from proceedings in Parliament on Tuesday.
Mbalula said the minister had been notified to appear in court and was not a flight risk. He stressed however that should Manana fail to cooperate he would be found and made to face the law.
“The law is the law. It doesn’t matter the colour of suit you wear; blue, yellow or white. We are all equal before the law,” Mbalula said.
The Police Minister’s explanation has been largely criticized, with many insisting that the offending minister ought to be arrested like any other crime suspect.
President Zuma and the ANC have expressed shock and disappointment at the minister’s behaviour amid calls for Manana to be sacked.
Women Affairs Minister Susan Shabangu expressed her reservations about Manana’s behavior saying that he should be held accountable for his action. She said those in power must not get preferential treatment if they have done wrong.
“Many people end up just saying sorry when it comes to violence against women. Sorry is not enough. We cannot treat people differently, they must all face the law,”Shabangu said.
According to Statistics South Africa, one in five women in South Africa is a victim of male violence.