CAPE TOWN– Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the South African Parliament here that work is underway to review the government’s Integrated Plan of Action which was conceptualised to fight gender-based violence.

He said this in response to questions in the National Assembly Wednesday at a time when violence against women is squarely under the spotlight, with the nation mourning several incidents where women and children have lost their lives at the hands of people they knew.

Ramaphosa said abuse and violent acts had a devastating impact on victims and in order to overcome the scourge, there was a need for all South Africans to understand and effectively address its causes, implement measures to reduce the potential for gender-based violence, and ensure proper support for survivors and others affected.

The Integrated Plan of Action to fight Gender-Based Violence 2013-2018 aims to transform attitudes, practices and behaviours. It aims to ensure better access to support services for women and children at risk and provide long-term care, support and empowerment services for survivors of gender based violence,” he said.

The plan aims to ensure that women and children are better protected from violence through a strengthened system with supportive legislative, policy, institutional frameworks, adequate resources, organizational capacity and a comprehensive evidence base. Work is underway to review the Integrated Plan of Action, taking into consideration lessons learnt and recommendations from the diagnostic review.”

As part of a broader campaign to empower adolescent girls and young women, the She Conquers campaign is working to reduce new HIV infections, teenage pregnancies, school dropout rates, and sexual and gender-based violence. The government has also launched national dialogues on violence against women in order to interact with communities to find the reason for violence against women and children and develop common solutions, Ramaphosa said.

The respective Ministers have reported to [the National Assembly] on progress made in our programmes to address violence against women and children. These engagements with the National Assembly have helped to inform the conceptualisation of some of these programmes and campaigns,” he added.

The struggle against gender-based violence cannot be left to government alone or to the public representatives in [the National Assembly]. It must be embraced by all South Africans — men, in particular — to ensure that we act decisively to end it.