Free­dom and pro­tec­tion are con­sti­tu­tional rights

Vuk'uzenzele - - From Tyhoeuutnhiofnocbuusildings -

Our Mid-Term Bud­get Pol­icy State­ment was de­liv­ered by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba re­cently. It called on all of us to work to­gether to re-ra­tio­nalise our re­sources and ac­cel­er­ate all our ef­forts as govern­ment in this penul­ti­mate month of the year to con­clude most of our pro­grammes be­fore the start of the fes­tive sea­son.

Work­ing to­gether, in this fash­ion will put us in a good po­si­tion at the end of the fi­nan­cial year in March 2018. We should con­tinue to work hard to serve our peo­ple so that they end the year on a pos­i­tive note.

By all means and at all times pub­lic ser­vants have to be vig­or­ous and must be loud de­fend­ers and ad­vo­cates of the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple, both in what they say and in what they do. De­spite our ef­forts in terms of de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to the poor, the chal­lenges our coun­try faces are not in any way sig­nif­i­cantly di­min­ish­ing. Oth­ers are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly un­pre­dictable, such as nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, protests from var­i­ous sec­tors and of course un­ac­cept­able lev­els of crime, among many other as­pects. In this month of Novem­ber we also launch the 16 Days of Ac­tivism for No Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren (16 Days of Ac­tivism Cam­paign for 2017). De­spite this cam­paign hav­ing run for 18 years, crimes against women and chil­dren are still con­tin­u­ing. This is why we said the 16 Days should ac­tu­ally be the cul­mi­na­tion of our 365 day cam­paign, un­der the theme "#Coun­tMeIn", Count Me In: To­gether Mov­ing a Non-Vi­o­lent South Africa For­ward. This con­trib­utes to the mes­sage of so­cial co­he­sion and na­tion-build­ing through the call we make on all South Africans to ac­tively ad­vo­cate for and re­ject vi­o­lence against any vulnerable per­sons, par­tic­u­larly women and chil­dren. We can­not build a free and bet­ter so­ci­ety where sig­nif­i­cant sec­tions of our peo­ple are still not re­al­is­ing their con­sti­tu­tional rights to free­dom and pro­tec­tion in their own coun­try.

This year the 16 Days of Ac­tivism cal­en­dar will be launched in the Eastern Cape on 25 Novem­ber 2017, in line with The Year of OR Tambo theme and the eman­ci­pa­tion of women. Pres­i­dent Tambo was a cham­pion not only of the right of women to equal po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion in the ANC, but he also be­queathed us the Bill of Rights which is the im­por­tant ker­nel in our Con­sti­tu­tion to­day.

The launch will fo­cus on the con­tin­ued roll-out of Na­tional Dia­logues in­tended to con­tinue the de­bate and dis­cus­sion on the pre­ven­tion and even­tual erad­i­ca­tion of vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren. The pur­pose of the dia­logues is to cre­ate aware­ness about these forms of abuse in our so­ci­ety, and to rally our peo­ple to take ac­tion against abuse. The Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency Re­spon­si­ble for Women is the cus­to­dian and cham­pion of the #365 and the 16 Days of Ac­tivism Cam­paigns.

We urge ev­ery­one in our so­ci­ety to par­tic­i­pate. Tra­di­tional Lead­ers; faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions; civil so­ci­ety in­sti­tu­tions, par­tic­u­larly men's or­gan­i­sa­tions and health pro­fes­sion­als; as well as the pri­vate sec­tor are all com­ing to the party in the line-up of pro­grammes this month.

The launch of the 16 Days of Ac­tivism Cam­paign will be com­ple­mented by a Joint Sit­ting De­bate with the theme fo­cused on the com­mit­ments of Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and Par­ties to the im­proved pre­ven­tion of vi­o­lence and the pro­tec­tion of women and chil­dren as vic­tims of vi­o­lence in their var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal con­stituen­cies. At pro­vin­cial level, the Of­fices of the Premiers have co­or­di­nated the cam­paign in col­lab­o­ra­tion with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and other pro­vin­cial and lo­cal so­cial part­ner for­ma­tions to ac­cen­tu­ate the call against this vi­o­lence.

Other ac­tiv­i­ties lined up for the 16 Days cam­paign in­clude in­ter­faith prayers. Most im­por­tantly, the cam­paign is also linked to and over­laps World Aids Day on the 1st of De­cem­ber.

In 2015, the Depart­ment of Women (DoW) com­bined the white rib­bon sym­bol of the cam­paign with the red rib­bon of the HIV/AIDS cam­paign to demon­strate the link be­tween Vi­o­lence Against Women and HIV and AIDS.

On World AIDS Day, 1 De­cem­ber 2017, na­tional and pro­vin­cial de­part­ments of health will host var­i­ous events across the coun­try to share in­for­ma­tion and so­licit ac­counts the im­pact of Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren on the preva­lence of HIV and AIDS. The Depart­ment of Jus­tice will be launch­ing the Sex­ual Of­fences Court in De­cem­ber to give this crime the spe­cialised at­ten­tion it de­serves.

We there­fore call on our com­mu­ni­ties to take part in ac­tiv­i­ties by var­i­ous de­part­ments, all in the spirit of stamp­ing out this crime and mak­ing this coun­try a bet­ter one for all who live in it. Let us sup­port the ac­tiv­i­ties not only on the ac­tual days but at all times so that we free the re­sources ded­i­cated to crime for other ser­vice de­liv­ery needs.

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