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President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated his call for society to frown upon the scourge of violent crimes committed against women and children as the country marks National Human Rights Day next week.

This is according to Presidential Spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, who was briefing media on the President’s public programme, on Friday at the Union Buildings.

Magwenya said the President is pleased with the journey travelled to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in all facets of society, particularly for women, the elderly and children.

“We mark this Human Rights Day under the recurring and persistent scourge of attacks on the basic rights of vulnerable groups in society.

“Hence, the President reiterates his call for society to frown upon the scourge of violent crimes committed against women and children, which is a direct onslaught and threat to the progress we have made in the adherence of human rights.

“The President believes that everyone must enjoy their constitutionally given rights freely as the inherent basic principles of freedom and democracy,” Magwenya said.

He emphasised that President Ramaphosa remains committed to the protection of rights not only for this month of March, but as a continuous daily practice in South Africa.

“We look forward to the President delivering the key note address during the national Human Rights commemoration on 21 March,” he said.

Magwenya highlighted that the Constitution enshrines the rights of all citizens and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom, irrespective of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.

He further urged all South Africans to commemorate and remember all those gallant men and women, whose blood, sweat and tears secured today’s freedom.

“We are united in the progress we have made and unified in the work we need to do to address the lingering socio-economic challenges,” he said.

Human Rights Day is commemorated to honor the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, where peaceful protestors marched against discriminatory pass laws and were fatally shot by police.

Fighting GBVF

Government continues to intensify the fight against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), which the President has described as the country’s ‘second pandemic’.

As part of interventions, Magwenya said government has introduced new laws to protect women and children in South Africa from abuse and violence.

“We are implementing new legislation which has strengthened the criminal justice system, put more effective deterrents in place to promote accountability, and enabled better protection and support for survivors.

“These include the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, which regulates the reporting obligation on people who are aware that sexual offences have been committed against persons who are vulnerable,” Magwenya said.

READ | Government committed to ending GBV

He further emphasised that the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act is vital, as it introduces mandatory DNA collection for certain crimes.

The Domestic Violence Amendment Act and Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act are further interventions that will help in protecting vulnerable groups in South Africa. –

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