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Justice Department joins the world in commemorating International Women’s Day

08 March 2017

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development joins the world in commemorating International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day has been observed since the 1900s to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

This year’s International Women’s Day is commemorated under the theme Be Bold For Change, to encourage the international community to take decisive steps in the empowerment of women. The theme is consistent with government’s commitment to radically transform all aspects of work in the public service, which include legislation, policies and services.

In line with this approach, the Department has undertaken legislative programmes to contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of women. The complete emancipation of women is still affected by violence and discrimination. In response to violence perpetrated against women, the Department has promulgated progressive laws such as the Domestic Violence Act, Sexual Offences Act, Prevention and Combating of Harassment Act and the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Person Act.

Recently, the Department tabled the revised Traditional Courts Bill in Parliament which, among others, guarantees the participation and protection of women’s rights in Traditional Courts.

While, there have been many efforts to deal with domestic violence, the Department has noted with concern the increasing number of women who are killed by their partners. As a result, the Department is currently engaging various stakeholders across the country to find lasting solutions to the challenge of intimate femicide.

The Department is nearing its target of upgrading 57 sexual offences courts, to ensure that they are capacitated with special services for victims of sexual violence. Thus far, the Department has upgraded 51 sexual offences courts across the country. These courts are part of a decisive action to build a victims centric justice system.

While putting in place these measures, the Department remains aware that legislation and policies on their own cannot guarantee the safety of women. In the spirit of Human Rights Month, we emphasise the role of every citizen in affirming and entrenching our Constitutional rights and in building safer communities for our women.

Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development          

Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services