Violence against women like a war – Ramaphosa

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There were protests in Durban earlier this month

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says urgent action is needed to tackle gender-based violence in the country.

At an emergency sitting of parliament, Mr Ramaphosa said figures of violence against women and children were similar to those of a country at war.

Some 2,700 women and 1,000 children were murdered by men last year and at least 100 rapes were reported daily.

The spike in violence against women has ignited protests in many parts of the country.

Mr Ramaphosa pledged $75m (£60m) for measures including public education, strengthening the criminal justice system, increasing sentences for perpetrators of sexual offences and providing better care for victims.

The plan also includes measures to improve women’s economic power.

Murders recorded by the police have been rising every year for the last decade, and sexual offences including rape have risen 4.6% this year.

Mr Ramaphosa also addressed the recent xenophobic attacks which gripped parts of Johannesburg a few days ago and acknowledged that South Africa was facing a serious crisis of violence and intolerance.

He said a fact finding mission led by two former African heads of state would investigate the causes of recent violent attacks in the country.

Earlier this week South Africa apologised to Nigeria after Nigerian-owned shops and businesses were reportedly targeted by the mobs. Twelve people died in the violence – 10 South Africans and two Zimbabweans.

Mr Ramaphosa’s message to lawmakers comes a day after a dialogue on femicide and the killing of people with albinism in the country’s Eastern Cape province.

Cases that have caused outrage in South Africa since August:

  • First-year theology student Jesse Hess, 19, is found dead in her bed and her tied-up grandfather Chris Lategan, 85, in the toilet; no arrests have yet been made
  • Body parts of sales coach Lynette Volschenk, 32, are allegedly found in refuse bags in an apartment block; a suspect has been arrested

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Media captionThe South African women suffering violence

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