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Govt sends stern warning to abusers

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Govt sends stern warning to abusers

by Gabi Khumalo
23 Nov 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The South African Government has sent a stern warning to people who abuse children, saying abusers should "take their hands off the children or face the full might of the law".

The message was sent during the opening of the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence Against Women and Children Campaign held on Saturday at Beaufort West in Western Cape.

Before the official opening of the day by Deputy President, Baleka Mbete, Deputy Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Nomatyala Hangana who is also the convener of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, Western Cape MEC for Social Development Zodwa Magwaza and SABC and non-governmental organisations including Songololo unveiled a billboard in the area with messages against women and children abuse.

"Hands off our children", "sex with children is a crime", "two out of seven are affected by sexual abuse," reads the messages on the billboard.

Deputy Minister Hangana warned that the government was on a mission of saving the children from elderly abuse.

"Any nation that does not look after its children is doomed," she said, urging children to speak out and report the abuse.

She also emphasised the importance of the partnership between government and civil society to fight violence against women and children, noting that poverty should not be used as an excuse for abuse.

"There is a lot of poverty in this town but that doesn't mean that we need to abuse the children."

Explaining the significance of the bill board, Ms Magwaza said it aims to create community awareness against women and children abuse on a daily basis.

"We want to create awareness and a safe environment for women and children," she told BuaNews.

Ms Magwaza said her department wanted to ensure that women and children are treated with dignity, adding that the department has a responsibility to assist the community and ensure that they are self reliant.

Sharing the same sentiments as Ms Hangana's, Ms Magwaza said children were the future of this country and that the government will not tolerate perpetrators.

"They should be thrown away from the society, we urge victims to break the silence since most of the time the perpetrators are family members," she told BuaNews.

In assisting the victims of gender abused, Ms Magwaza said the department has established safety centres in the province for abused women to build their confidence through skills training.

In an effort to contribute towards the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, Western Cape SABC General Manager Nomfundo Mpuntsha said the organisation was looking at forming a partnership with government to help assist the people affected by abuse.

Themed "Don't look away, Stop the Abuse", the campaign forms part of the 365 Days Programme and National Action Plan, which is 365 days of action against gender based violence.

As part of this plan, during the campaign, which kicks off on 25 November to 10 December, all stakeholders are expected to have programmes that focus on the elimination of violence against women and children. - BuaNews

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