South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that South African women are living in fear as gender-based violence continues unabated.
He made the statement against the backdrop of the murders of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana and South African boxing champion Leighandre Jegels.
Mrwetyana was murdered by her boyfriend while Jegels was murdered by a stranger. Both incidents happened in August as South Africans celebrated the Women’s Month dedicated to the protection of women.
“This is a very dark period for South Africa, assaults, rapes and murders of women are a stain on our national conscience.
“South Africa has been gripped by rising gender-based violence in recent time. Earlier, presidency signed Declaration on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide with various civil society formations and directed that urgent attention be given to its implementation.
“Particularly on immediate measures around support to victims and access to shelters and places of safety,“ Mr Ramaphosa said.
Mr Ramaphosa, however, promised to meet with the leadership of the police soon to be briefed on steps being undertaken to stem the tide of gender-based violence in the country.
He commended enforcement authorities for their action which led to the arrests of two suspects linked to the brutal murders of Ms Mrwetyana and Ms Jegels.
Ms Mrwetyana’s alleged killer was arrested and charged with rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice. The man suspected of killing Ms Jegels was also arrested and has since died in the hospital.