Civil society groups have pleaded with President Cyril Ramaphosa and Justice Minister Michael Masutha to release Martha Marumo, who is serving a life sentence for killing her abusive husband.
The summit aims to engage over 1 000 stakeholders on a way forward in addressing the scourge of violence against women and children in the country, and outline a roadmap to achieving this.
According to StatsSA, “70 813 women experienced s-e-xual offences in 2016/2017 as compared to 31 665 in 2015/2016. This is over a hundred percent increase in violence against women
President Ramaphosa convened the national summit following a call by activists who planned the #TotalShutdown on Women’s Day, which highlighted the plight of women and children in South Africa.
He gave the keynote address on the first day of the long-awaited summit.
Marumo was arrested in 2003 for murdering her husband and was later sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment in 2005. She is currently serving her sentence at Kgosi Mampuru prison.
Emotions ran high when Marumo joined a panel of survivors who each shared harrowing personal experiences of violence against women and children at the hands of men.
“I am a woman who was abused and decided to take the law into my own hands by killing my husband,” Marumo told delegates, who gave her a rousing applause.
“This was not a good solution,” she said in response.
Marumo detailed the abuse she suffered at the hands of her late husband while she was pregnant with her last born.
“I don’t want to lie, I never opened any case against him, but police were involved. I went to the station many times and we were told it was a family matter,” she explained.
Marumo, who is now 15 years into her sentence, went to prison when her youngest child was 4 years old.
“My daughter, who is now 19 years old, is always asking me, mommy when are you coming back home?” she told delegates. The summit ends on Friday.
Meanwhile, activists interrupted the two-day summit following a series of marches against gender-based violence.
Activists against women abuse staged a silent protest while President Ramaphosa was delivering his keynote address at the gender based violence and femicide summit.
The women wore black and held high female underwear with messages calling for the violence against women to stop.
The two day summit was convened by the president following a series of marches against gender-based violence by formations such as 100 Men March and #TotalShutdown, with the latter demanding that President Ramaphosa convene a summit.
During his address, President Ramaphosa said South Africa is a country with relatively high levels of violence and criminality and this can no longer be accepted.
According to the SAPS Crime Statistics report of 2018, femicide increased by 11 percent over the last two years.
“We cannot, and we will not, rest until we have brought those figures down to zero. We are aiming for a femicide rate of zero per 100,000,” he said.
Survivors who shared their stories, complained that the police and the court system were not equipped and lacked capacity to effectively assist victims of gender-based violence and s-e-xual assault.
President Ramaphosa said this needed to improve and encouraged women to voice their concerns.
Source: The Herald.