Government urged to hand out harsh penalties for gender-based violence perpetrators

The spike in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) since the start of the lockdown has sent shockwaves across the country.

Activist Nomasisi Batha has called on government to ensure harsh punishment for perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV).

There has been a rise in GBV cases since alert Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown began on June 1.

On Friday, the body of a young woman was found under a tree in Dobsonville, Soweto – the latest in a number of victims.

Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka and other women in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu- Natal were found murdered this week.

Pule was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.

In Machibi village in Port St Johns, the bodies of two women, aged between 22 and 24 were found in a nearby forest.

Batha says femicide and violence towards South African women are getting out of control.

“Alarming, catastrophic, pandemic proportions. Government must not give perpetrators of GBV and femicide any bail, they must not give them legal aid they don’t deserve it. They must sentence them to life imprisonment without the option of parole. Enough is enough, this must stop, justice must be served for our women and girls,” she says.

Tshegofatso Pule laid to rest

Pule, the 28-year-old who was found hanging from a tree in Roodepoort, on Gauteng’s West Rand and was laid to rest on Thursday. Pule had been stabbed in the chest.

She was eight months pregnant. The expectant mother from Soweto reportedly went to visit her boyfriend in Florida but never returned.

Her death has caused outrage, with many calling for justice. At Pule’s candlelight memorial in Soweto, a few shared their words.

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“Thank you for being a friend, sharing your life with me. I will always love you and your unborn angel,” said a friend.

“Well, come forward, say something. We are at a time when we are really tired of men that are just sitting and doing nothing about our situation so we are really tired. As a man, stand up and come fight for the women of SA,” one mourner said.

“We were looking forward to receiving the new member of the family, but it was never meant to be so,” added another mourner.

The 25-year-old, Phadingwayo, was murdered in KwaNonqaba in Mossel Bay in the Southern Cape on Saturday after being stabbed to death, allegedly by her partner.

Phadingwayo and Pule are the latest victims in a series of violent acts against women which have gripped the country over the past few months.

Gender-Based Violence comes under the spotlight during lockdown

Many social issues have come under the spotlight as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, and domestic violence is one that continues to impact thousands of South Africans who are confined to their homes.

The spike in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) since the start of the lockdown has sent shockwaves across the country. In the first week alone, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has recorded 2300 complaints of GBV. However, many remain unreported.

The latest statistics are yet to be released.