The government is hosting a virtual National Women's Day to pay tribute to the women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956, protesting against the Pass Laws.
JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa says gender-based violence and femicide can’t continue.
Ramaphosa is pleading with the nation to no longer ignore women and children's cries for protection.
He says plans are in place to provide support for victims of GBV.
As the country marks Women's Day this year, Ramaphosa says South Africa is in the grip of two pandemics, the coronavirus pandemic and the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide.
"We can no longer as a nation ignore the deafening cries of women and children for protection, for help and for justice," said Ramaphosa, who was speaking at a virtual Women’s Day celebration.
"It has been eleven months since I addressed a joint sitting of Parliament to announce an Emergency Response Action Plan to combat gender-based violence and Femicide.
"Since then we have taken concrete actions to provide greater support and care to survivors of gender-based violence.
"We have increased the number of shelters and care centres for survivors and improved the capacity of our police to deal with crimes of gender-based violence. We have made important progress in reforming our laws to give greater protection to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
"We now also have a National Strategic Plan, which among other things aims to promote women's economic inclusion."
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Ramaphosa further stated that one of the most important ways to reduce the vulnerability of women to gender-based violence is to enable them to become financially independent.
"With the launch of Generation Equality and with the implementation of the National Strategic Plan we have a unique opportunity to refashion our society and the lives of the women of South Africa," Ramaphosa said.
The president also said the speeding up the process of giving land to women will help empower them.
"We will ensure that our own land reform process favours all historically disadvantaged people - including women - in getting land and the means to farm it," said Ramaphosa.
"Of the R75-million in COVID-19 relief earmarked for farming input vouchers, 53-percent of the beneficiaries will be rural women. We must ensure that women subsistence and small-scale farmers continue to receive support beyond the lockdown.
"At the same time, we will be calling on AU member states to put policies in place to increase women's ownership of land to 30-percent."