KZN LOOKS BEYOND 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM
By: Deshnee Naidoo
KwaZulu-Natal is on course to extend the 16 Days of Activism Against the Abuse of Women and Children campaign into a yearlong initiative.
The 16 Days campaign is an annual event which is observed globally. The purpose of the campaign is to address policy and legal issues; as well as campaign for the prevention of violence against women and children, and to call for the elimination of all forms of gender based violence.
According to the government website, SAnews.gov.za, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu said the 365 Days Provincial Action Plan has been crafted with the express aim of mobilising people around the province to focus on ending violence against women and children the entire year.
This plan was announced by Mchunu during the launch of the provincial 16 Days of Activism campaign in Swayimane, Pietermaritzburg.
“Through the plan, the province is demonstrating its commitment to sustained action, coupled with dedicated and permanent institutional mechanisms,” Mchunu is quoted saying on the website.
Called the 365 Days Action Plan, the plan aims to address the root cause of violence against women and children and improve violence prevention and victim protection services.
It also aims to respond to the health and economic needs of those affected by gender-based violence and support legislation and its enforcement across all spheres of government in the province.
Citizens in the province also expressed their delight at the initiative.
Sylvester Naidoo, an employee at Clover South Africa and a citizen in KZN, said, “I think this campaign helps to bring about awareness of the impact of violence. By doing this, it helps thousands of South Africans to either prevent abuse or give support to victims.”
Swayimane, where the launch was held, has experienced an increase in the number of cases of violence against women and children.
“It is unfortunate that we assemble here under the dark cloud of an unprecedented increase in reports of the abuse, both physical and sexual, and the increase in violence perpetrated against the most vulnerable members of our society – women and children in KwaSwayimane and the rest of the province,” said Mchunu.
He said government was steadfast in its commitment to put women’s issues at the top of its agenda. He also urged leaders to get behind the campaign to restore the moral fibre in society.
“Next year, we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of our democracy. We owe this freedom to the founding mothers of this democracy,” said Mchunu.