ZULU King Misuzulu kaZwelithini promised to look into reducing lobola payments if men do better to end the scourge of gender-based violence against women and children.
King Misuzulu was the keynote speaker at the second annual National Men’s Day against gender-based violence and femicide at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on Saturday.
The event seeks to encourage men to play an active role in the fight against GBV which has been described as the second pandemic in the country.
King Misuzulu made a heartfelt plea to Zulu men in particular to stand and be counted in the fight against abuse of women and children.
“I felt embarrassed when I saw the theme ‘where are men?’ because we are here but the situation we find ourselves in doesn’t show that we are around as real men. I’m pleading with you the Zulu nation — I don’t like to speak for other nations in this situation — I’m begging you as your king because the late king (Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu) was also stressing that you don’t touch a woman, you respect a child so that they can also do likewise,” he said.
“Respect is actually a must in the Zulu culture, for a home or a nation to thrive you must lead it with respect.”
He provided an incentive for Zulu men to fight this scourge as well as increase marriages in the nation.
“Let me tell you the good news that will only be considered if you behave yourself as Zulu men: We will discuss reducing cows for lobola. We can’t discuss that while we have these challenges. I don’t know if this is because of Covid-19 but we have less marriages these days and more cases of abuse. We can fight this,” he said.
Deputy minister of health Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the country should unite in the fight against GBV as it did against Covid-19.
“Covid-19 is still around but it’s not that prevalent. It was once as troublesome as GBV so how did we reduce it? — through all our efforts with vaccinations, washing our hands and sharing information with our neighbours, yet we can’t do the same with GBV. Maybe it’s because it is being pushed by one side and the other is not contributing a similar effort,” he said.
Minister in the presidency responsible for women, youth and people living with disabilities Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said statistics showed that the level of femicide and rape cases against women and children was unacceptable.
“South Africa faces the highest femicide rate among the top five countries with the highest murders. The SAPS reported 25,204 murders in 2021/22 and 3 198 of those were women, that works out to nine women being murdered daily in South Africa. That is not acceptable,” she said.
“We’ve had 10 512 rape cases in the last three months yet we’re saying it has decreased. KwaZulu-Natal (2 130) is only behind Gauteng (2 168) in those cases, 68 of which were raped inside school premises. We should really be ashamed as a country.”
Dlamini-Zuma said the fight against GBV starts with not being tolerant of violent crime in society.
She also pleaded with traditional leaders to banish men who are found to have been abusive towards women and children. – SowetanLIVE.