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MEC to lead Provincial Men’s Forum workshop

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“The workshop will encourage men to take individual and collective accountability for their actions.”

Nontobeko Vilakazi to lead Provincial Men’s Forum.

MEASURES to improve the role that men’s organisations can play in the fight against the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) will be discussed during a Provincial Men’s Forum led by the Northern Cape MEC for Social Development, Nontobeko Vilakazi.

The workshop will take place at the Horseshoe Motel in Kimberley on Thursday.

The workshop aims to highlight the roles and responsibilities of the forum as well as to discuss the successes of the forum.

Department spokesperson Lesego Pule said that ideas on how to improve and strengthen the forum will also be addressed during the workshop.

“The workshop brings together these stakeholders to engage and discuss key social issues and the role they ought to be playing in the prevention of the constant perpetuation of gender-based violence and intimate partner violence, both of which have reached epidemic proportions in South Africa,” said Pule on Wednesday.

He added that the social challenges that communities in the Province face have resulted in an increase in gender-based violence.

“Crime statistics, over the past couple of years, have stated that the Northern Cape has experienced an increase in sexual offences. From previous analysis done it is known that alcohol and drug abuse, jealousy amongst partners in a relationship or marriage and domestic violence-related incidents are mostly the triggers for crimes of this nature to be committed. In more than 86% of these cases the victim and the suspect were known to each other and only in 9.7% percent of cases the suspect was unknown to the victim. It was also found that 64.7% of rape incidents occur within dwellings and in 33.8% of cases occurred in public places.”

Pule said the workshop will equip the forum with the tools to effectively educate other men about how to take up their roles as the guardians of the vulnerable in society.

“The Provincial Men’s Forum was launched during November 2017 and no induction workshop was conducted, thus leaving the structure having ad hoc programmes. In 2018 and 2019 men in the Province participated in the national mens ambassadors programme and also a dialogue with women on the interfaith GBVF dialogue resolutions of 2018. Since after the launch, men’s formations continued to work in silos due to lack of co-ordination by the Provincial Men’s Forum leadership. It is in the interest of all men to go back to the drawing board and develop tangible goals that can lead to the successful involvement of men on gender awareness programmes.

“The ultimate goal is to continue to target the institutions in which gender-based violence is perpetuated and push for systemic change and accountability.

“The dialogue seeks to hold men accountable, empower and engage them as gender advocates speaking out against harmful social and cultural practices, gender stereotypes and risky sexual behaviours that drive the spread of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and Aids.

“The workshop will encourage men to take individual and collective accountability for their actions,” concluded Pule.