Women ask for God’s intervention

Dan Plato joined a group of Langa women in prayer against abuse over the weekend.

Langa women have asked for divine intervention to halt the country’s ongoing violence against women and children.

In recent weeks, South African news had been dominated by reports of gruesome murders and violence on women and children, and on Sunday June 11, Langa residents paid homage to the victims while praying for an end to the scourge.

At an inter-faith prayer meeting, concerned women asked God to intervene.

The prayer meeting took place at Marigana, Etshatshalazeni grounds, next to Guga Sthebe. It was led by Fezeka Plaatjie.

Various religious groups argued that divine intervention was the only solution. Local clergymen, politicians, Zwelonke Women’s Forum and the unionists urged people be optimistic that God would stop the killings.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, Nomvume Ralarala first deputy president of the SA Federation of Trade Unions’s (SAFTU) and Pastor Stage Stage, founder of the Mighty Men of Character, were among those who attended.

Ms Plaatjie called on people to work in unity at churches, on the streets and in their homes to pray for the end of the scourge of crime and violence. “Let us connect with God. With Him we shall conquer. Let us as women rise up. We should say your child is my child. Let us speak life to these kids. We are dealing with a matter that not only affects Langa, but the entire country,” she said.

Ms Plaatjie said they would continue holding similar events until the killing of women and children stopped.

Ms Ralarala condemned the “appalling” levels of assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, rape and murder inflicted on women and children in the country. “It is becoming impossible to find a newspaper, or listen to a radio and television news bulletin which does not include one or two horror stories about attacks on women or children.

“Just recently Thembisile Yende, who worked at Eskom, was brutally murdered and many women here in Langa.”

Ms Yende, an Eskom employee, was missing for two weeks before her decomposing body was found in her locked, Johannesburg office.

“We must not only condemn these appalling crimes, but do more to turn the tide, bring the offenders to justice and build a country in which women and children can live safety and in peace,” Ms Ralarala said.

She added that the problem was rooted in a society in which patriarchy, sexism, racism, homophobia and violent suppression of dissent had been entrenched under colonialism and apartheid and that women – specifically black women – were usually the victims.

“To counter this, a massive national campaign is required. Both churches and unions must play a leading role in educating and mobilising their members to set an example by desisting from violence against women and reporting others who they have witnessed behaving violently to women,” she said.

Another mother, Nhinhi Zondi, partly blamed women for not raising their children in a manner that would address the societal challenges.

“We are allowing our children to parent us, teach us how to be parents. At the same time we have been trusted with the lives of children but we are not doing that. We are no longer training our children to be responsible citizens. Children are blessings and they need to remain that,” she said.

Mr Plato said it was unfortunate that most incidents could not be policed as they happened behind closed doors. He called on psychologists to come forward and explain what was wrong with society and appealed to men to protect women and children.

He also thanked the women for having taken the initiative to organise the event and promised provincial government’s support.