The Deputy Chairperson of the Men’s Sector, Dr Matome Kganakga, who reported on the Men’s Parliament 2020-2022 programme of action and on the South African Men’s Charter, said it is encouraging that every province is represented and that in every province every district is organising men to take part in initiatives to assist them.

He also highlighted that there is a men’s movement in one in every six local municipalities, with the goal to have a presence in 4 168 wards across the country. Dr Matome also said that South Africa is the most dangerous country to be a woman. It is more dangerous than what is happening in Russia and Ukraine.

“We are at war with ourselves and it’s a very difficult war to fight, because there’s no bombs, there’s no guns. This war is actually happening between people who at one point said they love each other.” No army in the world is powerful enough to win this war; we really need to go to the depth of manhood and understanding ourselves better, he said.

Dr Matome went on to say that men are also dangerous to themselves, with over 13 000 male suicides recorded. Dr Matome called for mobilisation in a systemic manner to solve gender-based violence.

During the debate on the programme of action, several speakers highlighted the lack of political and government support for men’s programmes. They also pointed out the prevalence of drug use in the townships and called for the Department of Social Development to be included in Men’s Sector engagements.  

The Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Obed Bapela, said rape and sexual violence pervade every sphere of South African society. He cited the Eastern Cape’s Lusikisi area as a centre of violence against women, according to recent crime statistics. It has become so bad that rape is normalised, with families settling rape cases with the payment of goods to the families of the survivors as compensation.

One contributing factor to the problem highlighted by Mr Bapela is the cultural practice that disallows women from owning property. “We are any angry nation and a violent country and we need to work on these things collectively to solve them,” he concluded.

Jabulani Majozi
23 November 2022