DA supports GBV Council but cautions its lack of power to hold government accountable

Issued by Nazley Sharif MP – DA Shadow Minister of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities
31 Oct 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Nazley Sharif MP

The DA supports the National Council of Gender-based Violence and Femicide (NCGBVF) Bill that will establish a council to co-ordinate, monitor, evaluate, implement, and regulate the National Strategic Plan on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and all other legislation pertaining to the eradication thereof.

Given the high number of GBVF incidents, we face in the country, the Council has been a key priority for many in government, as well as many NGOs, GBVF organisations, and gender activists. The DA has put pressure on government to establish the Council and to ensure that it is capacitated and funded to be able to fight against the scourge of GBVF.

The DA is proud to have fought for, amongst others, the appointment of the board by Parliament, ensuring that the Board reports to Parliament, and ensuring that there are timelines for co-option of Board members. However, one of our biggest issues with this legislation, like many other bodies, is the Council’s lack of teeth.

The DA believes that the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has missed an opportunity to give the Council powers to hold government departments and entities accountable. The DA fought for the inclusion of a legal committee that will have the power to litigate on behalf of victims but the Department argued against it stating that budget and mandate was not in line with this.

The root cause of the failure to address GBVF are flaws in the criminal justice system, poor socio-economic environments, and weak policing. Existing mechanisms are not functioning properly due to corruption, maladministration, and mismanagement.

Given the Council’s lack of teeth, government should have focused on providing better capacity, and empowering existing structures to combat GBVF.

The DA will hold the Council accountable and ensure that we monitor and evaluate its performance.

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