NZHELELE, LIMPOPO

Vho Thovhele Khosikholo vho Tony Ramabulana Mphephu

Vho Thobele vhothe

Misanda

MEC

Executive Mayor of the Vhembe District - Cllr Nengudae

Mayor of the Makhado Municipality - Cllr Munyai

The bereaved family and friends

Capricorn TVET College council, Management and Staff

Student leadership

Members of the media

Ladies and gentlemen

 

Ndi masiari!

 

I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Ramabulana family on behalf of government and the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology.  

 

Your loss is a loss that we feel deeply too.  

 

All we have at this moment of need is words of condolences and comfort.

 

As the South African 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign gets underway with a message “Enough is enough”, the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology mourns another senseless and violent death of a young female student.  

 

We join the nation in our collective outrage.  

 

We are angry that the life of Precious was cut short, depriving her of making her mark on society.  

 

We are angry that Precious Ramabulana is the latest in a series of unforgiveable acts of gender-based violence.  

 

We are angry that just a short while ago we mourned the loss of Uyinene Mrwetyana and Sinethemba Ndlovu.

 

We are angry.  

 

Another murder. 

 

The frequency with which we deliver dead bodies of raped and murdered young women at the hands of men makes us angry.

 

We, as men, should take collective responsibility because these killings happen as a result of entrenched patriarchy in our society.

 

We, as men, should shoulder the blame and now our heads in shame for every woman raped, maimed, killed because in a way or another, it is a result of the patriarchal system we collectively benefit from and therefore, aware or not, defend this system.

 

We are angry.

 

And we are tired of being angry.

 

Precious had the last round of examinations to write before she could graduate.  

 

She had a few more late study nights where she would burn the midnight oil.  

 

She had a few more conversations with her fellow students on how stressed they are from their studies.  

 

She had a few more interviews to go to before she could land her first job.  

 

She had a few more months to go before she could earn her first pay-check.

 

But that was taken away from her.  

 

She had no choice in this.  

 

She was just like the countless women in South Africa that have no choice when subjected to gender based violence.  

 

We are encouraged by the speedy arrest of a suspect.  

 

We will be further encouraged by the swift turning of the wheels of justice.  

 

Although the murder of Precious took place outside the campus of Capricorn TVET College, Government has a crucial role to play in ensuring that there are policies in place that strengthen higher education institutions to act against perpetrators of gender-based violence.  

 

These policies must empower victims and must mobilize and conscientize men.   

 

These policies must affirm that 'No Means No’ and deal with the sense of entitlement and toxic masculinity.  

 

These policies must suffocate and force perverts, rapists and murderous out of our institutions of learning and indeed out of our communities. 

 

Institutional policies should create an environment where there is proper security for women.  

 

Institutional policies must offer psycho-social and other forms of support for victims of sexual violence if and when they report such crimes.  

 

These policies should name and shame perpetrators beyond dealing with their crimes in institutional structures and through the judicial systems.  

 

These policies should have harsher sentences for those who are found guilty of such crimes.  

 

We must act urgently against this barbarism that we men still finding ourselves in. 

 

But this cannot be enough.  

 

Over the last months there has been a strong call for the death penalty and harsher sentences for perpetrators of gender-based violence.  

 

Will the death penalty be a serious deterrent?  

 

It may alleviate our instant gratification for immediate justice but is it a long-term solution.  

 

Most research points to the opposite.  

 

Harsher sentences may be necessary, but our jails can only hold a finite number of prisoners.  

 

The problem of crime in general and gender-based violence is broader.  

 

It cuts across every aspect of our lives from our most personal relationships, to the families in which we live in, the communities in which we come from and the social institutions that we are tied to.  

 

From cradle to grave, we are exposed to and grapple with gender-based violence in one form or another.  

 

There are no easy solutions nor easy victories.  

 

It is a sustained struggle because it requires all of us to participate.  

 

From parents to teachers, to religious leaders, to community members, to business leaders to government officials and politicians – we must all confront and stop gender-based violence in its tracks.  

 

Because if we don’t, then there will be more Uyinene Mrwetyana’s and Sinethemba Ndlovu’s and Precious Ramabulana’s being robbed of another examination, another friendship, another job, another paycheck, and ultimately their precious lives.

 

We are angry and we are tired of being angry.  

 

We must work together to confront and stop gender-based violence in all its forms on and off campuses and in our communities.

 

These rapists and murderous are in the same streets as us, some in the same church, in the workplaces, in government corridors, some are the harshest critiques of gender based violence; and yet we sometimes look the other way and claim that this is a private matter.

 

As the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, we recognise that this has been a particularly difficult time for the family, friends, lecturers and the classmates of the deceased student.  

 

Even if we didn’t know the student personally, we are still deeply affected. 

 

We thank the Capricorn College Council, Principal and staff for the support that they have given to the family and affected students.  

 

We are encouraged by this support.  

 

Continue to support our students in this difficult time.  

 

I thank you.