The Chief Albert Luthuli Sub-District Office of the Department of Social Development joined forces with the Mpumalanga Men’s Sector and the Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality (CALM) hosted a crucial dialogue on Gender-Based Violence & Femicide (GBVF) at Julius Mkhonto.
GBVF is a grave issue affecting individuals, families and communities and it has become urgent to take a stand. More than 200 people, including those from Ward 14 and beyond, attended this important event.
Participants donned black attire to remember the victims of GBVF and two solemn walks were held to commemorate those who have suffered and lost their lives due to GBVF. Men were encouraged to report the abused because men should protect their families and also be protected.
The acting Executive Mayor, MMC Snana Dhlamini led the first walk, which went from Julius Mkhonto Taxi Rank to the AFM Church. MMC Nomsa Thomo, responsible for Special Programmes in the Office of the Executive Mayor, led the second walk from Rhema Tabernacle Church to the AFM Church.
Thomo said the purpose of the dialogue was to hear the voices of the community members and strategise on how to combat GBVF, most importantly working towards a society free from such violence.
The Men’s Sector shared valuable insights, highlighting the fact that men can also be victims of violence at home, and often too afraid to report it due to societal norms. They firmly condemned GBVF, emphasising that men should protect their families and also be protected.
The Men’s Sector holds meetings every three months to address issues impacting men. They disclosed that 60% of households are led by women and men are not fulfilling their roles as leaders. However, they are committed to addressing these issues and encouraged men to take responsibility. Disturbingly, it was revealed that some men engage in relationships with young kids. The Sector advocates for legal action against such individuals, emphasising the importance of holding them accountable.
Various stakeholders contributed their expertise to shed light on GBVF: The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Traditional Health Practitioners (THP), Embhuleni Traditional Council, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the South African Police Service (SAPS), Department of Correctional Services, among others, were on hand to inform and share knowledge.