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Motion for moment of silence turned down

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“We also need to remember the women and children who suffered from gender-based violence this year and those who died."

File picture: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas/Pexels

A MOTION presented in the Northern Cape Legislature by DA MPL, Reinette Liebenberg, to acknowledge the 120th commemoration of the Anglo-Boer War, as well as to remember the women and children who suffered from gender-based violence, failed to be recognised.

Liebenberg presented her motion without notice during a sitting yesterday of the legislature. She called on the provincial authority to acknowledge the 120th commemoration of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902, which resulted in the deaths of
49 000 people in concentration camps.

“We also remember the women and children who suffered untold abuse during the War and the approximately 17 182 Africans who died of which a large number were women and children who died in the concentration camps,” Liebenberg said in her motion.

“We also need to remember the women and children who suffered from gender-based violence this year and those who died.

“I move that the House rises for a moment of silence to pay tribute to all those who died.”

Liebenberg said yesterday after the sitting that the motion failed after it was rejected by the ruling ANC-party.

“It is a pity that in this day and age South Africans cannot stand united when recognising pain and suffering – irrespective of under which circumstances or time the abuse took place.”

Liebenberg pointed out further that written questions to MEC for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Nomandla Bloem, regarding the drought declaration and funding could also not be dealt with as she arrived too late.

During yesterday’s debate on 16 Days of Activism, which also took place during the legislature sitting, DA MPL Harold McGluwa, pointed out that this year has been a treacherous one for the country’s and Province’s women and children.

“The Northern Cape has not escaped the spate of violence and we have our own horrific stories to tell. As I stand here, I think of the 82-year-old grandmother and the young girl, who were both raped and murdered in Blikkiesdorp and Bellview community, in Upington, earlier this year.

“In October, the Brandvlei community also saw a woman hacked to death in her home, just two weeks before a teenage girl stabbed her own mother to death. In November, we saw a new flood of attacks on elderly women.

“A 72-year-old grandmother from Roodepan, as well as two elderly cousins, aged 76 and 79, were raped in the very same street, in two separate incidents, by two different perpetrators. Around the same time, an 86-year-old woman from Warrenton was raped and murdered. It doesn’t stop there.

“How painful it must have been for the mother of a 27-year-old disabled girl, to identify her naked and butchered body that lay amongst the graves at the Morning Glory cemetery in Upington.

“As I stand here, I also think of Simolene Solomon, of Upington, who was gunned down by her husband at the entrance of their house, while her two young children and her parents watched helplessly.

“These are just some of the cases that made the headlines, but there are many, many more.”

According to McGluwa, an average of four sexual offences occur in the Northern Cape every day.

“This outbreak of gender-based violence is a vicious and evil plague that we need to eradicate. We need a strong police service that is fully equipped, resourced and staffed, so that, aside from responding to emergencies and catching criminals, they can also implement effective visible policing.”

He stated, however, that only 49 out of 91 police stations in the Northern Cape met the police to citizen ratio of one policeman to every 220 citizens.

“We have too few cops in our vast Province and yet, a recent passing out ceremony of 3 000 newly trained police officers, saw only one trainee deployed to Rosedale in Upington.

“Police stations also recently had a shortage of rape kits, and they continue to experience a dire shortage of operational vehicles. In fact, just about every police station in this Province is facing critical vehicles shortages due to the lengthy turn-around time to fix broken police vans.

“Some police stations are even using private vehicles for policing purposes. This is unacceptable. The reality is that the police are making it too easy for criminals to rape, assault and murder.”