Africa

South Africa: Violence against women like a war – Ramaphosa

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says urgent action is needed to tackle gender-based violence in the country.

At an emergency sitting of parliament, Mr Ramaphosa said the figures for violence against women and children were similar to those of a country at war.

Some 2,700 women and 1,000 children were murdered by men last year, and at least 100 rapes were reported daily.

The spike in violence against women has ignited protests in many areas.

“There is a dark and heavy shadow across our land. Women and children are under siege,” Mr Ramaphosa said, describing South Africa as one of “the most unsafe places in world to be a woman”.

Mr Ramaphosa pledged $75m (£60m) for measures including public education, strengthening the criminal justice system, increasing sentences for perpetrators of sexual offences, and providing better care for victims.

The plan also includes measures to improve women’s economic power.

Murders recorded by the police have been rising every year for the last decade, and sexual offences including rape have risen 4.6% this year.

Mr Ramaphosa also addressed the recent xenophobic attacks which gripped parts of Johannesburg a few days ago, and acknowledged that South Africa was facing a serious crisis of violence and intolerance.

Mr Ramaphosa’s message to lawmakers comes a day after a dialogue on femicide and the killing of people with albinism in the country’s Eastern Cape province.

BBC

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