Closing ceremony on no violence against women and children 10 December 2011

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Address by Premier Hazel Jenkins at the Closing Ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children Campaign on 10 December 2011 at
Northern Cape Provincial Legislature in Kimberley

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Mayors and Councillors
Members of the Community
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Today marks the closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. However, I must caution you that this occasion should not be misconstrued that the fight against the abuse of women and children also comes to an end today. The responsibility rests on all of us to continue this campaign for 365 days a year.

Honourable Members, your unwavering commitment and pledge to fight the ills and social injustices against women and children have given me hope that united we can do more to eliminate violence against women and children.

Our Government launched the 2011, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children on the 25th November, under the theme ““From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence.”

The 25th November is a day that was set aside as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to create safer communities and to protect the most vulnerable in our society against the scourge that is eating away at the very fabric of our society.

Honourable Members, our engagement in a series of activities throughout the province signifies South Africa’s solidarity with all the struggles of the global human family for the total elimination of violence against women. During the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children Campaign we also observed World Aids Day on 1 December to renew our collective commitment in the fight for an HIV/AIDS free society.

Programme Director,

Today also marks International Human Rights Day which signifies a day to re-affirm women’s and children’s rights as human rights. Hence Government endorsed this UN-led initiative, which is driven by the need to advance towards achieving the goal of a non-sexist society where people would be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their gender or age.

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign unites us as a country and a nation to come together to voice our displeasure against all forms of violence and abuse against the most vulnerable groupings in our society.

The Campaign challenges us to take a firm and united stand against violence and abuse directed at women and children. Since the introduction of this Campaign a number of laws have been introduced that are aimed at protecting the rights of women and children. This year marks twelve years since the inception of the Campaign and it forms part of an ongoing national effort for the transformation of society towards the realisation of our common vision of realising a caring society that protects women, children and people with disabilities.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Women are nation builders, the pillars of strength of any society and deserve to be treated with respect. Abusive men should therefore start appreciating women and children. Women and children must be loved and supported because they, together with men, are the future generations of this country.

Children have a right to safety and protection as prescribed by our Constitution. This however remains a mere dream for many children. Parents, guardians and all community members have a fundamental responsibility to protect our children. These days with so many advancements in technology and access to social networks, opportunities are created for paedophiles to target children through these sites.

We plead with parents to be aware of what is happening in their children’s lives and take ownership in controlling access to these networks for the safety of our children.

We call for stronger commitment and action to be taken against perpetrators of these heinous acts. As the Provincial government, we remain committed to ensuring that women and children live in safe environments. To this end, we pledge to improve the lives of women, children and the disabled in ensuring that they claim their rightful place in society.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we also call upon our police to show zero tolerance especially during this period of the year. The government and the people of the Northern Cape will continue to work together to ensure that women and children feel and are indeed safe.

We further call upon our communities to continue working with the South African Police Service in order for us to eliminate violence perpetrated against women and children. The message to all of us as members of the community is “Don’t look away, act against abuse,”

It is also during the festive season that violence and crime tend to increase. Please make sure that we are vigilant at all times and we take care of our children and don’t leave them unattended.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Nelson Mandela once remarked that “For every woman and child violently attacked, we reduce our own humanity.”

Have a blessed and peaceful festive season and always think about those that are less fortunate.

I thank you.

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