As the world will mark the beginning of the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism for no Violence Against Women and Children from today until 10 December, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) National Gender Committee calls on South African government to ratify, as a matter of urgency, Convention 190 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to protect both job-seekers and all workers from violence and harassment in the workplace in South Africa.
Convention 190, together with Recommendation 206, were adopted by the International Labour Organisation in June 2019 at its 108th centenary session in Geneva. It is more than a year since it was adopted and yet South Africa has not committed itself to be bound by it despite the rising incidents of Gender-based violence in this country.
Statistics of gender-based violence in our society paint a gloomy picture about the ill-treatment and abuse of women and children in South Africa. That the police recorded no less than 85 000 cases of gender-based violence during the national lockdown means South Africa must move with speed in addressing this issue, in line with the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence.
By not signing this binding treaty on behalf of South Africa, the government is allowing South Africa to continue being a den of lions and predators of violence and harassment in the world of work for millions of women who fall victims almost daily.
Nurses and other healthcare workers, the majority of whom are women, are directly vulnerable to this rising scourge of gender-based violence in the workplace, and many have died at the hands of perpetrators who are hardly held accountable for their actions by the law of this country. The conviction rate for the perpetrators remains disappointingly low, which often discourages many victims from pursuing the long arm of justice.
As violence and harassment takes many forms in the world of work, DENOSA view the undermining of the collective bargaining agreement by the South African government as another form of brutal harassment in the workplace since workers have been deprived of the agreed adjustment of their remuneration from 1 April this year, which has not been paid. This harassment on healthcare workers who are majority-women is perpetrated by government departments whose ministries, coincidentally or not, happen to be led by males.
DENOSA appeals to the South African government to come clean and start doing things the right way, so that its previous voice of reason and righteousness in the world stage on matters of justice and fairness could take its rightful place again.
Failure by the government to act decisively and urgently in addressing serious matters of gender-based violence will make this country known for caring for victims only after they have been killed as it often lowers its flags at half-mast.
As part of its action campaign this period, DENOSA will picket at the offices of the Department of Employment and Labour, calling on this crucial department to speed up the process of ratifying Convention 190 of the ILO by South Africa. Details of the pickets will follow.
Issued by DENOSA National Gender Committee
For more information, contact:
Thandeka Msibi, DENOSA 2nd Deputy President and Chairperson of DENOSA National Gender Committee
Mobile: 082 328 9845
Professor Mavis Mulaudzi, DENOSA 1st Deputy President
Mobile: 082 563 4758
Tel: 012 343 21315