Concern over stalling GBVF Fund as another woman loses her life

PROTESTERS march against the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide. Photo: Lebogang Makwela/Visual Buzz.

The murder of a 26-year-old woman in Limpopo has once again raised concerns about South Africa’s ever-growing gender-based violence and femicide statistics.

This week, the residents of Makhushane Village near Phalaborwa woke up to the news that their neighbour Judith Mathebula, 26, had been stabbed to death.

According to local police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, they are pleading with Mathebula’s ex-boyfriend Watch Ndlovu from Gravelotte to avail himself to the nearest police station.

“Police received a complaint about a woman allegedly stabbed by her ex-boyfriend and immediately rushed to the scene. Upon arrival, they found the victim lying in a pool of blood in an open field near Makhushane Dairy.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect asked the victim to meet him at an open field to hand over the items he bought for their minor child. The victim went to meet the suspect in the company of her 18-year-old niece.

“It is further alleged that on their arrival, the suspect unexpectedly grabbed the victim and stabbed her numerous times with a sharp object and fled the scene on foot,” Ledwaba said.

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the national gender-based violence and femicide summit. Photo: Denver de Wee/Visual Buzz.

Mathebula was certified dead on the scene.

Political analysts agree that the fight against GBVF has gone out of hand.

University of Zululand’s Professor Sipho Seepe said the fight against GBVF needs law enforcement and social development ministers to do their job with dedication.

“We need people who can put themselves in other people’s shoes. We need ministers who are committed to their work,” Seepe said.

Independent political analyst Gakwi Mashego said police officers were struggling with GBVF cases due to their incompetence. He cited as an example the failure of law enforcement agencies to crack and convict suspected killers of Hillary Gardee, the daughter of former EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee, who was kidnapped and shot dead in Mbombela last year.

HILLARY Gardee. Photo: Facebook.

Sipho Mkhatshwa, Philemon Lukhele and Albert Gama have been arrested in connection with Gardee’s brutal murder.

“We have seen cases involving three EFF leaders who lost their daughters to GBVF in the past three years without any conviction of perpetrators. If this is happening to high-profile people, what about ordinary citizens who live in Phalaborwa or Bushbuckridge?

“To tackle the scourge successfully we need to redefine gender-based violence. We see government leaders and politicians getting away with giving unemployed women an ultimatum to sleep with them or forfeit job opportunities. That is GBVF.

“Sadly, the same leaders we have sent to fight GBVF know one another and what they do behind closed doors to abuse women or take advantage of their vulnerable economic status. Such people cannot be serious about GBVF. The real fight will begin when leaders name and shame one another,” said Mashego.

In February 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the GBVF Response Fund 1, which he said attracted pledges of R128 million from the private sector.

The following year in July, it was announced that R162 million in pledges was again raised for the Response Fund.

One month before the ANC’s Nasrec conference last year, Ramaphosa further announced that he had instructed ministers to fund the national strategic plan against GBVF to the tune of R1.6 billion.

This was the same amount he committed in November 2019 under the name Emergency Action Plan on GBVF.

Last year the president justified the empty promise by blaming legislative processes involved in its delayed implementation.



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