Durban — Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini has asked for authorities to intensify gender-based violence (GBV) programmes in deep rural areas. He said the assistance should be extended to places that are far from sources of relief or police stations.
“Rural citizens are also human beings who need to be protected,” he said.
The king spoke at the national men’s day march against GBV, which was attended by more than 200 men. These included the chairperson of the KZN House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, community leaders and pastors.
The march started at the Durban City Hall and ended at the Kingsmead Cricket Oval in Durban on Saturday. There were delays. Moreover, it was expected that the king would address a much larger crowd, including amabutho, but that did not happen. The address ended up being given at a hall in the stadium.
The king said there must be a line drawn between monsters and those who fight the scourge.
He said those who looked away when children and women were abused were just as guilty.
“Looking the other way when incidents happen at ranks, in churches, mosques, temples, schools, workplaces, royal circles and hostels does not mean you are innocent,” said King Misuzulu.
He said a religion or culture that justified the abuse of women and children must be reviewed because it is against the order of nature.
He said it was a big shame that the perpetrators were allowed by society to use culture and religion as a shield while they committed these crimes.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who took part in the march, said society needed to be mobilised in the fight against GBV. She said violence could not be normal and there was no community or society that could grow, develop and have a future if GBV was not dealt with.
Former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said most GBV victims did not report the crime because they were often mistreated in centres where they should be getting help.
She said it was bad that as a Zulu nation the perception was that Zulus were violent people. She said this needed to change.
Moreover, she condemned sexist jokes and said that was where the problem starts.
“Sexist jokes should not be entertained because they give the impression that it is okay to abuse women. It is also not fair to ask women to be at the forefront against GBV. Men should be the ones because they are the ones who commit these crimes,” said Mlambo-Ngcuka.
She further encouraged gender equality in society, religion and workplaces. She said where there was no gender equality GBV was likely to take place.