JOHANNESBURG – South African women are taking a stand and have on Friday morning gathered outside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) under the banner of the #SandtonShutdown to highlight the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV).
With cases of women and child abuse in the country on the rise, this prompted calls for the government to declare a state of emergency.
In recent weeks, social media platforms have been bombarded with desperate pleas for action and users joined searches for missing children and women.
Brutal murders including those of students Uyinene Mrwetyana and Natasha Conabeer have shaken the nation, with President Cyril Ramaphosa describing the abuse of women as a stain on the nation’s conscience.
From 3AM, hundreds of women have been pouring into the Sandton CBD to stage a massive protest outside the JSE.
Lindelwa Nxumalo from the group Call For Action explained why they decided to take their plight to Sandton.
“We believe that as a huge player in the country, one that has influence and affects the lives of so many people especially black women, business has been quite disturbingly silent on this issues,” Nxumalo said.
Motorists were warned that most roads around Sandton would be inaccessible.
‘WE SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING’
On Thursday, the Police Ministry told Parliament that sexual abuse cases rose by more than 4% in the year ending March.
One woman, who took time off work to be part of the shutdown, said she hoped her voice would effect some sort of change.
“We can’t walk freely anywhere in the country, whether you’re in the streets, the mall, at the gym and at work,” she said.
Another woman said she also wanted her voice to be heard.
“I believe we should be doing something and maybe this is the start to get our voices heard.”
Metro police said they were expecting at least 10,000 people to join the shutdown.
The demonstration was expected to wrap up at 3PM.
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