CDM convenes Men’s Parliament
Capricorn District Municipality (CDM) hosted its Men’s Parliament in the council chamber of Polokwane Municipality last Thursday, bringing together representatives from community organisations, government departments, traditional authorities, faith-based organisations and men from different backgrounds for a frank dialogue and debate on a variety of issues in order to reject anti-women stereotypes that perpetuate patriarchy.
CDM Mayor Mamedupi Teffo delivered the key note address and said the purpose of the event was to afford an opportunity to talk frankly and discourage what she called “anti-women behaviour that continues to ruin society and causes destruction of families”.
Teffo said the fight against the scourge of gender-based violence should not be the responsibility of government alone, but for everyone to get involved, shine the light on it, expose perpetrators and be the voice for victims who can’t speak for themselves.
“This is because the perpetrators are people we know – it’s our uncles, brothers, gym partners, colleagues and so on, and they must be forced to stop,” Teffo explained and added that the Men’s Parliament creates an opportunity to join hands and build a society that needs great men to step forward and isolate abusers and killers.
“Let us pledge to work with our traditional authorities, churches and other community structures to fight violence against women and children. With this parliament, you should come together and build a caring, safer region that we are known for as Capricorn,” the mayor urged.
“All women want from men is respect and love, and all children want from men is protection and care,” Teffo
reckoned and said that, to make a difference on the outside, men have to first start from within.
“This parliament should afford you that opportunity to look within and make your family, your community a safer, peaceful place because laying a hand on a woman is not demonstration of strength, but a weakness. There is no strength in attacking someone who needs your protection,”
Teffo told delegates.
Teffo urged the delegates not to reduce the Men’s Parliament to a mere talk-shop.
“We can gather and debate and take resolutions but at the end of the day, it is within each and every one of you to become better and encourage other men to do the same. This is a conversation you men need to always have at any place, on any occasion, to encourage each other and pledge to choose peace and protect women,” Teffo concluded.
The fight against gender-based violence should not be left to government to fight alone.