Durban – With gender-based violence cases spiking in the country, Zulu King, Misuzulu KaZwelithini has urged his countrymen to stand up and draw a line in the sand by isolating monsters among them.
The king said those who turn a blind eye to cases of gender-based violence are as guilty as the perpetrators.
The king said this on Saturday in Durban where he was addressing a national men’s day event which was organised by the Good Men Foundation in collaboration with the Maskolo Foundation whose patron is his wife, Queen Ntokozo Mayisela-Zulu.
The event was aimed at mobilising men to join the fight against gender-based violence and femicide.
The day started with a march from King Dinizulu Park to Kingsmead cricket stadium in central Durban. The king and his entourage joined the march at Gugu Dlamini Park and led it to the stadium, which is in walking distance from the park.
“History teaches us that as citizens we are guilty on two fronts, by commissioning and by looking the other way.
“Those who abuse women and children, rapists and killers are guilty, however, those among us who do nothing to wipe out the scourge are just as guilty.
“Looking the other way when incidents happen in our ranks, churches, mosques, temples, schools, hostels, workplaces and royal circles does not mean you are innocent, but just as guilty (as the perpetrators).
“Today I say as a nation, we must draw the line between monsters and those who fight the scourge,” the monarch said.
The king particularly noted that KwaZulu-Natal is leading in cases of gender-based violence and pleaded with men to stand up and not to be counted among top sinners.
“This is something we don’t have to be proud of as a province, as a people and Zulus and as South Africans,” he said.
A sombre moment at the event came before the king spoke when Carol Mkhize, an administration clerk at the Durban central police station narrated how she has been failed by the justice system.
In front of the king, former South African deputy president and former executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner, Lt General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, Mkhize, in tears, narrated how she survived a rape ordeal while coming out of work.
She said what traumatised her the most was that every time she went to work, she would see the alleged perpetrator.
She said that the alleged perpetrator was arrested and taken to court and the charges were then withdrawn and the suspect freed. She also told how the police human resources management system failed her when she wanted leave days to deal with the emotional stress.
Despite all that, Mkhize said victims should stand up and report cases of gender-based violence.
“When we talk about gender-based violence, let’s shout, let’s scream until someone out there listens. A workplace should not be hazardous to me or to any other employee, as I regard my workplace as my second home,” Mkhize said.
During her speech, Mlambo-Ngcuka apologised to Mkhize that the system had failed her when she needed it the most.
Mlambo-Ngcuka also said many gender-based violence cases go unreported because victims are afraid to report perpetrators.
She added that it has taken a long time to rope in men in the fight against gender-based violence.
“Basically, this is a fight for men because it is them who perpetuate this. If they don’t come on board, take matters into their hands, we won’t end this,” she said.
On the sad case of Mkhize, former KwaZulu-Natal social development minister and eThekwini municipality speaker, Weziwe Thusi, said she has spoken to Mkhwanazi to make sure that justice is done in the matter.