Media Statement by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, MP:
As we mark Women’s Month, today I visited the newly installed gender-based violence (GBV) mural artwork at Manenberg Police Station, which was commissioned by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).
This follows from a commitment I made during the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly on September 18 2019 that the DPWI would use state-owned properties to install anti-GBV messaging, as a campaign to show government’s solidarity with communities and families who have been affected by this scourge, and to demonstrate government’s efforts in the fight against GBV and femicide.
In December 2019, DPWI installed the first anti-GBV billboard in Pretoria, near Kgosi Mampuru prison. Our aim is to expand this campaign to have these anti-GBV messages by government in all provinces.
Cape Town mural artist Zola Tsotetsi has just completed an artwork on the boundary wall of the Manenberg Police Station. The latest GBV artwork is located on the corners of major thoroughfares Klipfontein and Duinefontein roads where many residents pass by as they commute, but it is also located near communities that are ravaged by crime.
This initiative was supported by the South African Police Services, especially Western Cape Police Commissioner Yolisa Matakata, who approved the installation of Tsotetsi’s mural.
This year, government commemorates Women’s Month under the theme: “Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future”.
The men and boys of South Africa are important role players in this mission to ensure that women are respected, protected and treated equally.
Gender-Based Violence and femicide is a horrific scourge, where our women and children are being attacked and viciously killed, and we need men to come forward and speak out to help us end this scourge.
As we commemorate Women’s Month, we must be reminded that it is all of our duty to work together to protect and cherish our women and children and to take action when we see abuse.
Often communities and family members are aware of abuse, but are afraid to speak out for fear of tainting the name of the perpetrator or the perpetrator’s family members, but we cannot be quiet and not act.
Speaking out and helping to stop abuse can potentially save a life. We have lost far too many women and children to gender-based violence and femicide.
Gender-based violence and femicide needs all our advocacy and action and we must especially instil the values of gender-equality and caring for our women and children into the minds of young boys, so that they grow up to be men who protect and nurture our women and children.
It is my hope that this mural and the message: “Men, violence does not look good on your hands. Violence and abuse are a poison to society. Let’s make it stop” will land in the minds of all and propel us to take action that will stop this scourge.
The gender-based violence toll-free helplines 0800 150 150 and 0800 428 428 have also been included in the mural, and I encourage women to contact this number if they need any help. I encourage women to be brave and stand up for themselves and walk away from abuse. Too many of our mothers and sisters have succumbed to abuse and it simply must not be tolerated.
Let us work together as the whole of society to do anything we can to protect women and children and stop the monsters who abuse and kill our women and children.