Amakhosi pledge to create safer environment for women and children

The KZN Social Development Department and traditional leaders engaged in discussions in Umzumbe Municipality, to find ways to fight GBV in rural areas. Picture: Supplied

The KZN Social Development Department and traditional leaders engaged in discussions in Umzumbe Municipality, to find ways to fight GBV in rural areas. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 8, 2023


Durban — The chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional and Khoi San Leaders, Inkosi Sifiso Shinga, has rallied amakhosi to unite in their efforts to combat gender-based violence (GBV) and establish a society that upholds and safeguards the rights of all individuals, irrespective of gender.

During a session organised by the Department of Social Development at the Nkanini Indoor Sportcentre in Umzumbe Local Municipality recently, Shinga emphasised the urgency for traditional structures and communities to actively address the prevalence of GBV, rape and abuse.

Shinga urged both communities and traditional leaders to take proactive measures in combating this scourge.

“Our foremost objective is to create secure and protected environments within our communities, where the abuse of women and children is strictly prohibited. We are thankful that the Department of Social Development has recognised the pressing need to address sporadic cases of abuse, rape and GBV across various clans,” Shinga stated.

Furthermore, Shinga expressed his appreciation for the introduction of social workers by the Department of Social Development, who will work closely with amakhosi, izinduna and councillors to effectively tackle GBV.

Deputy director-general of the Department of Social Development, Maphili Mhlongo, acknowledged the influential role of amakhosi and izinduna within their communities and emphasised the importance of exploring practical solutions, strategies and initiatives to effectively combat GBV.

“In Umzumbe, we have initiated a session focused on implementing comprehensive measures to combat GBV, and prioritise the safety and well-being of women and children. We recognise that in certain communities, GBV is intertwined with socio-economic challenges, deep-rooted cultural beliefs, historical trauma and other complex factors.

“Our engagement with izinduna, councillors and social workers aims to foster a united front against the challenges we face. As part of our strategy to intensify the fight against GBV, we have ensured each ward is assigned a social worker,” Mhlongo said.

“The GBV battle, rape and abuse in society is a critical one that requires the active involvement of every individual. We can no longer afford to be bystanders or turn a blind eye to the suffering and injustice faced by countless victims. Each one of us has a role to play in eradicating this heinous issue from our communities. By assuming collective responsibility and committing to change, we can create a society that is safe, just and free of fear of violence." Mhlongo praised.

Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza's leadership in the fight against GBV, highlighted her efforts in establishing relationships with key stakeholders such as amakhosi, izinduna, churches and traditional healers. This collaborative approach recognised the significance of engaging all segments of society to effectively combat GBV, leveraging their authority to promote awareness, education and support for survivors, Mhlongo said.

Ayanda Msweli Foundation chairperson Ayanda Msweli said this was long overdue, but the Social Development Department should have involved the traditional leaders and others in the community about issues affecting communities in their areas.

He said community problems were reported to these leaders, and they were expected to provide solutions.

“If our leaders take this bull by its horns, these challenges will be easier to overcome,” Msweli said.

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