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President Cyril Ramaphosa Signs Landmark Bills to Combat Gender-Based Violence and Corruption

Tinashe Mupasiri



Union Buildings, Tshwane, 24 May 2024 — In a significant move to address two of South Africa’s most pressing challenges, President Cyril Ramaphosa today signed into law the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill and the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo Credit: Kopano Tlape GCIS

Addressing a gathering at the Union Buildings, President Ramaphosa highlighted the importance of these legislative measures, emphasizing the government’s commitment to strengthening law enforcement and enhancing the protection of women and children.

National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill

The first piece of legislation signed into law establishes the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. This statutory body is designed to coordinate and provide strategic leadership in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide. The Council will operate as a multi-sectoral entity, drawing on the expertise of civil society, labor, and business.

President Ramaphosa noted the progress made since the first Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in 2018, including the development of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and the establishment of the Women’s Economic Assembly. He underscored the need for a coordinated national effort to prevent gender-based violence, stating, “We want to end, once and for all, the violence that men perpetrate against women.”

The Council aims to enhance the national response to GBV through improved coordination, inclusivity, and resource allocation, ultimately striving to make South Africa a safer place for women and children.

National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill

The second bill signed today focuses on strengthening the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the fight against corruption. The amendment establishes an Investigating Directorate against Corruption as a permanent entity within the NPA, providing it with full criminal investigative powers.

This new directorate is an evolution of the temporary Investigating Directorate established five years ago, which has already made significant strides by taking 39 state capture and corruption cases to court and securing nearly 700 convictions of government officials for corruption. The directorate has also preserved and restrained state capture assets worth over R14 billion, recovering over R6 billion so far.

President Ramaphosa highlighted that this permanent entity will address capacity and expertise challenges within the NPA, enabling it to recruit and retain specialist skills necessary for tackling complex corruption cases. He also mentioned ongoing efforts to create a Digital Evidence Unit in partnership with the private sector, enhancing the ability to handle digital evidence in corruption investigations.

A United Effort for Change

The President called for the support of all sectors of society, including government, business, labor, and civil society, to ensure the success of these new entities. He reiterated that the fight against corruption and gender-based violence is crucial for realizing South Africa’s full potential and building an ethical, capable state.

“The criminal actions of those involved in corruption and the perpetrators of gender-based violence may differ in nature, but the consequences of both are devastating,” Ramaphosa said. “These forms of criminality are holding our country back and preventing us from realizing our full potential.”

Today’s legislative advancements mark a pivotal step in South Africa’s ongoing efforts to promote accountability, strengthen the rule of law, and protect the rights and safety of all its citizens.

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