The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivered a keynote address to the Men’s Parliament, which is taking place in the National Council of Provinces.

She characterised the Men’s Parliament as a collective quest to institutionalise men’s commitment to repair the moral fibre of South African society. “We are witnesses to an unprecedented surge of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). A harrowing picture is painted by the police statistics. In the second quarter of 2022, 875 women were murdered, and there were 13 000 reported cases of domestic abuse and 9 500 cases of rape.”

These statistics illustrate the fact that women and children are not safe in this country. “This is an indictment on the moral standing of our nation and a departure from ubuntu,” she said.

She further explained that “in time immemorial, nations placed so much value on the protection of women and children, even in times of wars they would not be harmed.” She added, “I urge men to be agents of change and active partners against this scourge.”

Dr Dlamini-Zuma then went on to mention various research that has investigated the reasons why men behave with such violence towards women. These investigations suggested that one reason might be that men struggle to fulfil their socially mandated role of provider and protector. This leaves them feeling inadequate and they then resort to aggression to release their feelings of inadequacy.

Other research has suggested that highly unequal societies, such as South Africa, experience higher rates of gender-based violence. The gendering of roles and the societal pressure for men to be masculine perpetuates the cycle of gender violence.

A lasting solution is to ensure equal opportunity for jobs and education to ensure that women are economically independent from men, as women’s dependency on men is often an exacerbating factor, the minister said.

Abel Mputing

21 November 2022