Comunidados de Imprensa

Comunidados de Imprensa

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 28 NOVEMBER 2022

  

 

MEN ARE THE PROBLEM, BUT THEY SHOULD BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

Fellow South Africans,

In my address to the second Presidential Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide at the beginning of this month, I said that we are a nation at war with itself.

This is borne out by the crime statistics for the last quarter, which were released last week, just ahead of the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

Between July and September this year, 989 women were murdered, 1,277 were victims of attempted murder and more than 13,000 were victims of serious assault. In just these three months, more than 10,000 rape cases were opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Not even children, our most vulnerable citizens and most deserving of our care and protection, were spared. In the six months to September 2022, over 500 children were killed.

We are in the grip of terrible crimes in which offenders are known to the victims. Women and children are being violated not only by strangers but by people who are known to them – by their fathers, boyfriends and husbands, by colleagues, teachers and even classmates.

However, as a society, we are not powerless to stop these crimes. We can stop gender-based violence.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing mobilisation of all sectors of society to stop the abuse of women and children. There have been some areas of progress.

The latest crime statistics show some of the successes of the criminal justice system in bringing perpetrators to book. In the reporting period, the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units arrested over 4,000 alleged perpetrators of gender-based violence and 410 alleged rapists were traced and arrested.

More than 17,000 trial-ready GBV cases were processed by teams of the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority. The courts are also handing down heavier sentences to perpetrators.

While we should be encouraged that many of the perpetrators are not being allowed to get away with their crimes, our foremost task is to prevent men and boys from becoming abusers in the first place.

Men are the perpetrators of gender-based violence and it is therefore men that need to change. It is men – as husbands and partners, as fathers, colleagues, peers and classmates – who need to consider their own attitudes towards women and girls.

To give meaning to 16 Days of Activism we now need to engage the men of South Africa in a dialogue about their responsibility towards women and toxic masculinity. All of society should be mobilised to organise these men’s dialogues.

The government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector should be encouraged to support such dialogues in every workplace, place of worship, school, college and university, and in every community. Every day various entities devote resources to public engagements, conferences and seminars on various pressing social, economic and political issues of the day. These are forums where this engagement should happen.

Eradicating gender-based violence is no less urgent or important. These crimes affect every aspect of our society, including health and well-being, safety and security, and economic growth and productivity.

In these dialogues, we need to examine our understanding of sexual consent. We must challenge the myth that rape is only considered rape if it involves a stranger, or if the victim responded by screaming for help, fighting back or reporting the matter immediately to the police.

By bringing together men of all races, classes and generations to speak frankly about their understanding of masculinity, we can show how some assumptions and practices that many people consider ‘normal’ are harmful to women and children.

We must change beliefs that men are strong and women are weak, that men have to be in charge, or that men can do as they please with women. Men need to understand that they can and should express their pain and frustrations without inflicting harm on others.

As President, I stand ready to participate in men’s dialogues. I call on Ministers, Premiers, religious, political and community leaders, sports people, artists, celebrities and business people to do the same.

The men of South Africa owe it to the women and children of this country to take up the struggle against gender-based violence.

These men’s dialogues can be platforms for men to challenge each other to become better men, more responsible, more understanding and more caring.

With best regards, 

16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN 2022

 

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is an international United Nations-endorsed initiative that takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period was designated by the UN General Assembly to raise public awareness on gender-based violence in line with resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999.

 

The South African Government has run a parallel campaign since 1998. As the 16 Days Activism Campaign matures in the country, it has evolved to include issues relating to violence against children as well. Since 2019, with the establishment of the Ministry in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, the campaign is broadened to also look at issues of violence against the youth, the LGBTQIA+ community and persons with disabilities, in particular women and children with disabilities. The period also allows reflection on violence and abuse experienced by women pushed to the periphery of society – women migrant workers, and illegal citizens, and sex workers, etc.

 

Other key commemorative days observed annually during this 16-Day period include World Aids Day on 1 December and the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

 

The 16 Days Activism Campaign continues to generate a heightened level of awareness amongst South Africans on the deleterious effect and impact of gender-based violence and femicide on our society. Over the past two decades, all partners, especially government, working with civil society, have been making concerted efforts in raising awareness about the 16 Days of Activism campaign within a broader approach of 365 days of action to address the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide in the country.

 

“Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment to build Women’s Resilience against Gender Based Violence and Femicide: Connect, Collaborate, Contract!”

 

Social empowerment is fundamental to women achieving and fully enjoying their human rights. However, women’s ability to do this is hampered by patriarchal practices and negative social norms. Economic empowerment is one of the most powerful routes for women to achieve their potential and advance their rights. It promotes women's ability to reduce household poverty, hunger and food insecurity, as well as reducing the heightened levels of inequalities they face on a daily basis. Women’s economic resilience will enable them to walk away from situations that make them vulnerable to GBVF, and to take control of their own lives and that of their children.

 

The absence of social and economic power for women creates patterns of violence and poverty which over time become self-perpetuating, making it particularly difficult for the victims to detach themselves from abusive relationships. Thus the programmes embarked on in the 2022/23 fiscal year must be geared towards addressing both social imbalances of power as well as economic marginalisation that women expereince – which are fundamental drivers of GBVF.

 

 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 21 NOVEMBER 2022

  

 

TAKING PARLIAMENT TO THE PEOPLE IS VITAL FOR DEMOCRACY

Fellow South Africans,

Twenty-eight years since the first democratic Parliament sat in Cape Town, we continue to have a Parliament that is activist, responsive and determined to make a difference in the lives of our people.

As our democracy has matured, there are a number of facets of our political life that we often take for granted. One of these is the principle of participatory democracy, where every South African is able to meaningfully participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

A great example of this principle in practice is the National Council of Province’s annual programme of ‘Taking Parliament to the People’, which was held last week in the Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

During the week, NCOP members held public hearings on issues affecting communities in the district, ranging from crime and safety to housing to water to economic development. The programme ended last Friday with a formal plenary sitting of the NCOP opened by the President and attended by hundreds of community members.

Last week’s programme showed how effective the NCOP is in coordinating between the three spheres of government. Representatives of national, provincial and local government were involved in the community interactions and were able to assist with many of the issues raised.

In this way, Parliament is contributing to the building of participatory democracy. Not only are citizens able to vote every five years for their representatives. They are also able to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

In South Africa today, no law can be passed or amended, no development can proceed, and no policy can achieve consensus without the input and participation of the South African people.

This is premised on the understanding that those who are affected by a decision have the right to be involved in the decision-making. Community members are able to engage directly with government officials and other stakeholders and challenge them on decisions that may adversely impact them.

Public participation in our democracy is not done in a superficial manner. This is evident not only in the substance of the laws that are passed, but also in the manner that laws are considered and debated. Before any law is passed, parliamentary committees invite submissions from the public and hold hearings – often in communities – to gather people’s views on the proposed legislation.

In recent times, we have seen communities asserting their rights in various ways. The environmental impact assessment process, for example, requires meaningful consultation with a range of interested and affected parties before an authorisation for a development is granted. This provision has supported grassroots citizen activism seeking to protect their communities and the environment against harmful practices.

This year I have led five Presidential Izimbizo, in North West, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Northern Cape. Through these izimbizo, citizens have an opportunity to engage directly with mayors, Premiers, MECs, Ministers and the President.

These engagements are interactive and at times robust. They are an important tool of accountability because the respective officials are expected to report back directly and in public to the people on what they are doing to fix their challenges.

As we work to implement the District Development Model across the country, platforms for public participation help to make citizens partners in their own development.

We are trying to move away from ‘parachuted’ development, where projects are planned in offices hundreds of kilometres away from communities and do not take into account the particular needs of those communities.

There is a complaint in some quarters that public participation in decision-making is cumbersome, protracted and holds back development.

To the contrary. We come from a past where citizens were completely disempowered by a repressive order that had no regard for the impact of its laws on those most affected by it. We come from a past where companies could build factories and industries with no regard to whether they would damage people’s health, endanger their lives or pollute their environment.

We should be proud that in South Africa today, every citizen has a voice and has ways to hold decision-makers to account, be they lawmakers, businesses or the President.

Public participation enables the state to make better decisions. It builds trust between the government, communities and stakeholders. It empowers citizens with the knowledge that their voices are heard.

Public participation in decision-making is democracy itself.

With best regards, 

DIPLOMATIC BAZAAR 2022 A GREAT SUCCESS!

Thank you to everyone who supported the South African stand at the 2022 Diplomatic Bazaar on 11-12 November, at the Lisbon Congress Centre. We were happy to once again receive President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the patron of the Bazaar, and to contribute to raising funds for institutions that support youths at risk. Thank you to Bill Godley and Teresa Macieira of Prime Wine (www.prime-wine.pt), to the GB Store (https://m.facebook.com/gbstore.cascais/?_rdr) for the rooibos tea, Mrs. Ball’s chutney, Romany creams and other goodies, to Michael Gonçalves for supplying the biltong and drywors, to Wanda le Roux for the wonderful home-made rusks, malva pudding and ginger cookies and to Sogenave (www3.sogenave.pt) for the donation of Ceres juices.  You have all helped to make the SA stand a great success!

The Embassy will continue to have wine, rooibos tea and crafts on sale at the Embassy until early January 2023.

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 14 NOVEMBER 2022

 

BROAD-BASED BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT IS HERE TO STAY

Fellow South Africans,

With the advent of democracy in 1994, a key priority of the new government was to transform the economy so that everyone could benefit from the country’s wealth.

As a society, we understood that economic transformation could not simply be left to the markets, but would need special interventions to make it happen.

That is why the Bill of Rights in our Constitution says that to promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures may be taken to advance people who had been disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.

The same Constitution provides for both value-for-money and empowerment in public procurement.

It says that when public bodies contract for goods and services, they must do so in a manner that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. It also says the state must implement a preferential procurement policy that advances people who have been disadvantaged by unfair discrimination. In South Africa, this refers to black people, women and persons with disabilities.

It is in this context that the new Preferential Procurement Regulations published by the National Treasury last week need to be understood. Government remains wholly committed to transformation and empowerment as envisioned in the Constitution.

Some people, for their own reasons, have mischaracterised the purpose and effect of the new regulations. Some commentary has even claimed that this government is back-tracking on its commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment.

This claim is far from the truth.

The new regulations fulfil an order of the Constitutional Court last year declaring that the preferential procurement regulations from 2017 are illegal, and requiring that the Minister of Finance replace them within 12 months.

Some of the commentators on this matter neglect to mention that the crux of the judgment is the scope of Ministerial powers to make preferential procurement regulations.

These regulations now fully comply with Section 217 of the Constitution in that they empower organs of state to develop and implement preferential procurement policies when contracting for goods and services.

These regulations are an interim measure pending the enactment of the Public Procurement Bill, which the National Treasury will soon submit to Cabinet and Parliament. The Public Procurement Bill will maximise both value-for-money and preferential procurement objectives to enable the delivery of services and transformation.  

The new regulations have no effect on the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, as all organs of state must fully comply with this Act when developing their procurement policies. This Act remains in force as one of the most transformative pieces of legislation to come out of democratic South Africa.

Government’s policy framework has not changed with the introduction of these regulations, nor has our commitment to service delivery and black economic empowerment.

Empowerment criteria will still be applied in government contracting and organs of state must comply with the BBBEE Act when developing their procurement policies.

What has changed is that organs of state will be able to set and apply specific ‘goals’ when evaluating a tender under a preferential procurement policy.

Despite the provisions of the Constitution, despite the introduction of measures to advance the economic empowerment of black South Africans and women, we are certainly not as far as we had hoped to be with economic transformation.

As I told the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Presidential Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council in July, we need to develop a new vision for black economic empowerment that builds on successes, learns from shortcomings, and that responds to local and global economic realities.

There should be no mistake or misunderstanding: broad-based black economic empowerment is not under threat and is not being reconsidered.

The new regulations are not “a victory for sound business practices” as one interest group has claimed. What is unsound, unsustainable and, above all, immoral, is an economy that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Put plainly, we remain as committed as ever to broad-based black economic empowerment, meeting our localisation objectives and transforming an economy that, despite our best efforts, is still largely controlled by a minority.

As we reflect on 20 years since the passage of the BBBEE Act, as we remedy the shortcomings that exist and chart a new course, we call on business, labour and civil society to join us on this journey.

We have come a long way since the days when only whites were allowed to own businesses and provide goods and services to the state. Where black businesses did exist, they were confined to townships, rural areas and the so-called homelands. We can and must do more to advance economic transformation.

To borrow the words of the National Development Plan, deepening democracy and building a more inclusive society means that we must continuously strive to translate political emancipation into economic wellbeing for all.

With best regards,