MPs debate violence against women and children‚ call for death penalty referendum
Bianca Capazorio | 2017-06-01 17:43:31.0
Image by: Anton Scholtz
Two political parties have called for a referendum on the death penalty during a debate in the National Assembly on the scourge of violence against women and children.
The urgent debate on the issue of the wave of violence against women and children currently sweeping the nation was called for by the Democratic Alliance.
The issue has come under the spotlight following several incidents in which young women and children have been brutally murdered and raped in various parts of the country in the last few weeks.
During the debate‚ the IFP’s Mkhluleko Hlengwa and the National Freedom Party’s Ahmed Shaik-Emam said that it was time to call for a referendum on the death penalty to punish abusers.
The DA’s Zak Mbhele‚ who was the sponsor of the debate‚ said it was an issue close to his heart as his own mother had been brutally murdered six years ago.
Many opposition party speakers pointed to a failure by the police to take cases of domestic violence seriously.
The EFF’s Hlengiwe Hlope said cases were often relegated to the bottom of the pile and if they did make it to court‚ women were “dehumanised” and their sexuality called into question‚ the way President Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser had been questioned.
She also questioned where Minister for Women Susan Shabangu was‚ as she did not speak in the debate‚ and did not attend the sitting.
But Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize said Shabangu had been working hard on the ground in recent weeks and her department was giving an important voice to women.
DA MP Mike Waters quoted a speech he gave several years ago and said “we have this debate every single year” but said nothing had changed because “there is no political will”.
Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula however said that violence against women and children had become his top priority and that while others were politicking on the issue “we are rolling up our sleeves”.
“There is no time to waste time when our children live in terror.”
“Enough is enough” he said.
“It has been enough for centuries. We have lost too many. We have scarred too many. It is a shame to be a man these days.”