Declaration of the Inaugural Central Committee of the South African Federation of Trade Unions, held on the 18 – 20 November 2019 at Birchwood Hotel
November 21, 2019
SAFTU statement in response to the Economic decline Q3
December 4, 2019

SAFTU statement on the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children

The 25th November 2019, marks yet another critical day on our national and international calendar. Governments and civil society formations set aside sixteen (16) days of activism for no violence against women and children to once again shine the light on one of the biggest crisis facing humankind, the wanton violence and abuse directed at the women and children of all ages.  

The media reports anger SAFTU that on the very weekend before the start of the campaign, yet another young women, Precious Ramabulana was brutally stabbed 52 times by an unknown assailant. We call on the police to leave no stone unturned in search of the person(s) who killed Miss Ramabulana. We call on the community of Mokomene to work with the police and provide the police with whatever information that may help trace the perpetrator of this heinous crime.

This is yet another name added into a long list of victims who are brutally killed, raped, molested by monsters who have no regard whatsoever to human dignity and life.

The elimination of violence against women and children is in itself a noble human rights issue. As a campaigning, democratic, militant Trade Union federation, we join the world at large in raising awareness to rid ours from gender-based violence permanently. Freedom remains an empty shell unless such freedom enhances the freedom of others. This also means freedom to create conditions that will enable an alternative society that is devoid of personal glory, greed and entitlement. We must fight the salacious culture of entitlement to women’s bodies!

The 2016/17 victims of crime statistical release[2] reported that 250 out of every 100 000 women were victims of sexual offences compared to 120 out of every 100 000 men. Using the 2016/17 South African Police Service statistics, in which 80% of the reported sexual offences were Rape, together with Statistics SA’s estimate that 68,5% of the sexual offences victims were women, we obtain a crude estimate of the number of women raped per 100 000 as 138. This figure is among the highest in the world. For this reason, some have labelled South Africa as the “rape capital of the world”[3].

SAFTU fully endorse the rallying call from women groups and government that our country should have a 364 days campaign that will ensure that workers, students, sports personalities, youth, women formations, men’s organisations, etc. play their role every day to highlight this scourge and to mobilise against it.

Our country remains a patriarchal society where emanates from the misguided toxic masculinity.

Patriarchy combines with the system of capitalism whose cornerstone is greed, selfishness, individualism, the survival of the fittest and dog eat dog. With the current levels of poverty, unemployment and inequalities more of our youth are finding themselves trapped in the drugs epidemic and alcohol abuse, which the drug lords recruit into their private armies to fight their wars for terrains.

South Africa must defeat the culture of impunity, which is driving the unacceptably high levels of crime. We are told that the police arrest only half of those responsible for all the crimes reported annually. Of those arrested a meagre 42% eventually appear in court; the rest are released. And less than a third (30%) of the suspects who do appear in court are found guilty.

In 2009 according to the police statistics, the conviction rate for murder in this country was 13% and for Rape is 11.5%. But other estimates in 2014 said the conviction rate is as low as 10%. This means even if we were to go back to the days of hangings, these would be the pathetic numbers we deal with. The deterrent to crime will only be when criminals know they will be arrested when they commit a crime, they will be convicted and will stay in jail.

Our thoughts are with the victims of gender-based violence. We also welcome the speedy trial and sentencing of Luyanda Botha the Post Office employee who was sentenced to several life terms for the callous murder and Rape of the young University of Cape Town Student Uyinene Mrwetyana.

Botha will only be eligible for parole after 25 years. SAFTU calls on society to reclaim our communities, let us isolate women and child abusers. We call on the strengthening of the criminal justice system, which should include restorative justice.       

We demand an accelerated effort to implement efforts to ensure gender-based violence or any kind of violence is wiped from the face of earth.

All SAFTU AFFILIATES WILL OBSERVE 365 days of activism for no violence against women and children