NEHAWU statement on the increase in gender-based violence, femicide and violence directed at chidren

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is angered and saddened by the recent increase in gender-based violence, femicide, rape, and violence directed at women and children.

This is a crisis that is tearing our society apart and affects every community in the country. What is more infuriating is the fact that this increase is taking place just as we concluded celebrating Women’s Month which took place in August. The recent spate of violence directed at women should prompt all of us especially young women to deepen the mobilisation of the rural poor, working class women, women workers and women in other sectors of society and play a critical role in building a movement that will intensify the fight against the exploitation of women in any form in all centres of society.

South Africans of all races, gender and class must unite to fight the scourge of patriarchy and gender inequalities. It is both repulsive and deeply concerning that in 2019 women continue to be victims of unfair labour practices, corrective rape, unpaid reproductive work and exploitative practices. This calls for an immediate and proactive plan to combat all forms of gender based violence and violence directed at children. In this regard, we fully support the call by the Congress of South African Trade Unions [COSATU] for President Cyril Ramaphosa to move with speed in implementing the Declaration of the Presidential Summit against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide held on November 2018.

As NEHAWU, we will continue to struggle for a non-sexist society that will ensure that women and children are safe from all forms of abuse and violence. In this regard, we will intensify our work in fighting against violence directed to women and to this end we shall engage in the following actions:

·       We will campaign for the establishment of gender based violence forums in workplaces

·       We will call upon the tripartite alliance to mobilise society for a stay away in support of gender based initiatives and victims of GBV, rape and femicide.

·       Campaign for the building of capacity of the justice system to be able to assists victims in gathering evidence in rape cases

·       Raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national and international level

·       Campaign to extend the 16 days of activism against women and children from 16 days to 365 days. The campaign will also include violence directed at the LGTB community and speak to the issue of corrective rape as well.

·       Call for every police station to have at least one police officer who has extra training around rape and sexual violence

·       Strengthening our work against violence on women

·       Establishing a clear link between local organisations and international work to end violence against women

·       Providing a forum in which organisations can develop and share new and effective strategies

·       Demonstrating the solidarity of women in our union against gender-based violence

·       Creating tools to pressure the government to implement promises made to eliminate gender based violence against women

The national union sends condolences to the families of University of Cape Town [UCT] student Uyinene Mrwetyana who was raped and murdered at the Clareinch post office in Cape Town, Leighandre “Baby Lee” the South African women boxing champion who was shot by her boyfriend in East London and 14 year old Janika Mallo who was also raped and bludgeoned to death in Heinz Park in Cape Town.  

As NEHAWU, we call on society at large to join hands in fighting all forms of violence directed at women and all forms of abuse.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha [General Secretary] at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso [Deputy General Secretary] at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba [NEHAWU National Spokesperson] at 082 455 2500 or email: