The City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Faith-Based Organisation (FBO) on Thursday March 10 called on all South Africans to take decisive action to end murders, human trafficking and the abuse of women and children.
Addressing a special women’s prayer service at Wembley Stadium in Turffontein, south of Johannesburg, acting Executive Mayor and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Councillor Nonceba Molwele told more than 1 000 people that after years of talking about how to tackle child and women abuse, it was now time to act.
The prayer service was attended by several Johannesburg councillors, including Section 79 Committees Chair of Chairs Councillor Solly Mogase, MMC for Development Planning Cllr Roslyn Greeff, Council Speaker Connie Bapela, as well as Bishop Thandiwe Mnisi-Msibi, Pastor Keke Sono and the Rev Thandi Nhlengetwa.
MMC Mfikoe told the service that women needed to break the silence and take back their power.
“Let’s come together to reclaim our streets, reclaim our safety, reclaim our future, reclaim our dignity so we can move our country forward,” Councillor Molwele said to loud applause.
“There are vultures that walk our streets looking to kidnap and traffic our girls. Mothers are faced with the daunting task of having to bury their beloved daughters as a result of gruesome violence against women. Just two days ago, we received the tragic news of a young lady who was raped, burnt with acid, killed and dumped next to Donaldson Lower Primary in Mofolo, Soweto. How ironic that this act befell her on the day of International Women’s Day,” Cllr Molwele said.
“The brutal killing of women and children shows there is a need to move from policy to action … Not only should the focus be on women but also on the men in our society. The elimination of violence against women and children has to be a shared responsibility across society.”
Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau’s wife, Pilisiwe Twala-Tau, applauded the City and FBO for organising the special prayer service, saying it was important for everyone to support the initiative.
“The City and FBO have brought us together. The next thing is for us to take action,” she said.
She called for drugs and alcohol to be tackled at they contributed to abuse.
“We need to have more men involved and for the boys to be with us for this to succeed," she said.
Prophet Samuel Hadebe concurred, saying men needed to be involved in such programmes “because they are the perpetrators”.
He said churches had a responsibility to educate boys about the importance of respecting women.
Advocate Kholeka Gcakela, a senior prosecutor at the National Prosecuting Authority, said traditional practices such as ukuthwala amounted to human trafficking and were punishable by law.