Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, has asked for a strong message to be sent to perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide, regardless of their social standing.
Nkoana-Mashabane issued the appeal after the arrest of Sibusiso Kula, an ANC member of parliament, for the suspected murder of his wife, Jennifer Motlhomi, who was stabbed to death at their house in Kanana, North West, in November 2022.
Friday in Klerksdorp, Kula was arrested and charged with the suspected murder of Motlhomi.
In a statement made before to Kula’s court appearance on Monday at the Orkney Magistrate’s Court, Nkoana-Mashabane urged the court to reject bail and warned offenders in positions of authority that their abusive behaviour would be confronted with the strongest resistance.
In a nation where gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) have been labelled a second pandemic, the Minister said that Lawmakers who do not respect the rights and lives of women must incur the greatest punishments.
“In North West alone there are three other women who lost their lives at the hands of men and we do not see the anger and uproar of every South African to eradicate this pandemic. Women, children and members of the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer, intersex) community are under attack in this country and there is no corresponding power to stop this war as the numbers are increasing daily,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
She stated that during the second Presidential Summit on GBVF last year, the importance of men as partners in ending GBVF was emphasised.
“Therefore, to have a Member of Parliament who should lead by example and reflect positive masculinities which should be instilled in all men and boys, depicting the worst form of toxic masculinity must be condemned.
“His [Kula] arrest now affords the justice system an opportunity to demonstrate that if such violence is meted out against women and children, it will act swiftly and harshly to send a clear message to perpetrators, no matter what position they hold in society,” the Minister said.
In situations of gender-based violence and femicide, in particular, the judicial system must gain the public’s trust that it will uphold justice, as stated by the Minister.
“The law must take its course, but in cases of this nature the justice system must show no mercy when sentencing the perpetrator. No one is above the law and anyone who commits such heinous acts must receive harsh punishment for their crimes,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
Kula’s court appearance follows a recent report that a suspect arrested for attempted murder of his girlfriend was given R500 bail at the Colesberg District Court.
Nkoana-Mashabane stated that such judgements give the erroneous message to potential offenders that the lives of women have no value.