Over 30 women killed in gender-based violence in South Africa in August

With more than 30 women died in the hands of their partners in August alone, South African gender-based violence expert says the government needs to do more to reduce violence directed at women.

"The killing of 30 women doesn't surprise me because people think that awareness campaigns like 16 Days of Activism and Women's Month can stop the violence. We need deeper programs that target men," Lisa Vetten from Wits University said.

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is held from 25 November to 10 December every year to oppose violence against women and children. Women's Month is commemorated every August to tribute to the pioneers of the women's movement in South Africa.

Vetten added that an improved firearm control policy should be implemented.  "We need firearms control to address violence. What impact will removing firearms in the streets have?" she said. Due to the recent violence against women, the South African government has declared Sunday as a national moment of silence and prayer day. 

Minister for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities Nkoana Maite-Mashabane said the government remained gravely worried about the scourge of violence against women and children across the country.

"At its core, violence against women and children is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect, a failure of men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women, an issue of fundamental human rights," the minister said. 

South Africa has been coming to grips with the sheer spate of recent murders, including South African boxing champion Leighandre Jegels who was shot and killed by her police officer boyfriend last week, and Uyinene Mrwetyana who was allegedly attacked, raped and murdered by a Post Office employee in Cape Town.

Maite-Mashabane said these two women's killing remained a "stark reminder that women of South Africa are not safe."