Gender Justice Barometer Issue 24

Date: January 1, 1970
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ISSUE 24:  
JUNE 2008  

*Regional: Alliance issues press release calling for a stronger Gender Protocol
*Botswana: BOCONGO holds briefing meeting for managers and editorson the state of the draft gender protocol
*Making laws matter

*Zimbabwe: Constitution over custom protects women

* Zimbabwe: Women ignored in TB care
* South Africa: Facing up to the real causes of xenophobia
* Uganda:Gay activists’ arrest shows HIV response gaps 


*Botswana: Empowering women through the use of ICTs
*Swaziland: Vote for a woman campaign
*Mauritius: Budget friendly to mothers and children
*Zambia: Men’s Net calls for victim compensation

The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network
* Mauritius: Merger of domestic violence Action Plans by MWRCDFWCP and Media Watch
*South Africa: Regional gender violence indicatorsthink tank meeting
*South Africa: ANC asks Khwezi to apologise to Zuma

*South Africa: Gender Violence indicators research meeting
* South Africa: Gender and Media Summit
* South Africa: Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance meeting

Regional: Gender violence indicators
Gender Links, with support from the UNIFEM Trust Fund on Violence Against Women, is convening a think tank meeting on indicators for measuring gender violence 10-11 July. Participants include researchers, activists, government departments and police services that daily grapple with GBV statistics. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will also be represented at the meeting, which will consider a briefing document on international and regional best practices in gathering data on GBV. The meeting will recommend a package of indicators for further consideration at country and regional level. Such indicators are crucial for monitoring progress towards ending gender violence, in line with the targets set by the draft SADC Protocol on Gender and Development that heads of State are expected to adopt at their summit in South Africa in August. 

Regional: Gender and Media Summit
Gender Links, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network will be hosting the third Gender and Media Summit from 10-12 August. Read more. The theme of the summit is “Whose news, whose views: Critical citizens, responsive media.” The summit kicks off with the Gender and Media Awards on the evening of 10 August and will be followed by parallel sessions on a range of subjects, including gender and media activism on ending gender violence. The summit will be preceded by the GEMSA general meeting on the afternoon on 10 August.

South Africa
: ANC asks Khwezi to apologise to Zuma
The African National Congress (ANC) is reported to be demanding that Khwezi*, the woman who took the former South African deputy president, now ANC President Jacob Zuma to court on charges of rape in early 2006, apologise.  The Sunday Times of 29 June 2008 reports that the ANC is calling on Khwezi to come back to South Africa and make a public apology to Zuma. The woman, known publicly only as Khwezi, accused Zuma of raping her in 2005 and fled to the Netherlands on a five-year asylum visa a year after he was acquitted and she began to receive death threats.

The Sunday Times has established from various sources that Zuma’s former wife, foreign minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, contacted Khwezi’s mother, who fled to the Netherlands with her daughter, in March to talk aboutbringing them home.
The paper also reports that Khwezi and her mother were to be offered safe passage and security at home. In return, she was to apologise publicly for accusing him of rape.
Read full report

Have your say. Join the discussion forum on the Gender and Media Diversity Centre. Click here and click on reply.

South Africa
: Survey finds shocking views on mini skirts and rape
A recent survey has found that a high proportion of South Africans believe that there is a link between the way a woman dresses and the incidence of rape. The survey, conducted by TNS Research Surveys (Pty) Ltd as part of their ongoing research into current social and political issues, included 2 000 adults (1260 blacks, 385 whites, 240 coloureds and 115 Indians/Asians) in seven major metropolitan areas of South Africa. Of these, 27% felt that women should not be allowed to wear miniskirts. Some 23% believe that women who dress in revealing clothes are asking to be raped.Read full report

Mauritius: MWO NAP and MWRCDFWCP NAP merger

In a landmark development, the government of Mauritius has approved a merger of gender violence plans developed by Media Watch Organisation and the Ministry of Women’s Rights Child Development Family Welfare and Consumer Protection. The new merged Action Plan is in the process of being implemented, but more needs to be done to ensure it is implemented in full.
Global: UN Security Council debates on violence against women
Warning that systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence could constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or even acts of genocide; the UN Security Council has demanded that warring governments and factions cease such acts immediately. It also affirmed the Council’s intention, when establishing and renewing State-specific sanction regimes, to consider imposing ‘targeted and graduated’ measures against warring factions who committed rape and other forms of violence against women and girls.

The Council resolution came at the end of a day-long ministerial debate during which American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said sexual violence profoundly affects not only the health and safety of women but also economic and social stability of their nations. There had been objections that the 15-member Council could not take up the issue as it is not a threat to international peace and security and some members thought that it was trying to impinge on an area, which is in the purview of the General Assembly.   Read more on this

SADC Protocol: Countdown to August
Regional: Alliance calls for strengthening of the SADC draft protocol
The Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance that includes 16 regional and national gender NGOs have called on all those involved in preparations for the Heads of State Summit in August 2008 to put forward a stronger draft of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

In a statement, the Alliance said that while significant advances have been made in strengthening the watered down draft that Heads of State sent back for further consultation in 2007, the current draft is “strong on development; weak on rights that women have gained through successive processes culminating in the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights.” 

Key issues raised include:   
· Some of the pertinent and core issues addressed in the SADC Gender Declaration and Addendum have been eliminated from the current draft. Examples include legal protection from marital rape, and a broad definition of disability rights to include issues of dignity, security, and employment rights, not just in the area of health.  These are already in CEDAW and the AU Protocol which most governments in SADC have ratified.
· In a number of instances the Protocol has watered down obligatory language like “ensure” to “endeavour”, even where there are existing firm commitments; for example to achieving 50% representation of women in decision making by 2015.
· Whilst the current draft cross references key provisions with existing SADC Protocols many of these are themselves gender blind (for example education; HIV and AIDS; media and information). There is need for the critical gender issues in these sectors to be drawn out in the Protocol
· The draft does not address the issue regarding the rights of cohabiting couples. We note that national consultations in various countries have identified this as a growing trend and a critical gender issue. Gross violations, in particular children’s rights and the property rights of women are occurring daily with little or no legal protection. This is a critical gap that can no longer be ignored, in view of some credible studies that have been carried out indicating that the family has changed in SADC, and the need for policy and legislation to respond to this change.
· It is necessary to clearly articulate women’s sexual and reproductive rights in the draft in order to enhance their promotion and protection as already encapsulated in the AU Protocol. The current draft is weak in this regard, for example, it does not address the right of women to control their fertility, their rights to decide on whether to have children, the number and their spacing, the right to choose any method of contraception, and the right to self protection against STIs, including HIV and AIDS.
· The definition of rights must extend to the rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups. This is absent from the current draft and needs to be explicit, otherwise this leaves a gap in the draft.
Specific proposals

In Zambia, members of the Alliance caucused justice ministers meeting in Lusaka in June to prepare for the SADC summit. The statement was carried in the Zambian media. Alliance members also presented the proposals to Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka during the quarterly meeting with the Presidential Working Group on Women on 24 June.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) held a briefing meeting for media managers and editors on the 26th of June.  The objectives of the meeting were to inform them as regards the critical areas of concern as stated in the statement released by the Southern African Gender protocol Alliance. The proposed amendments to the draft protocol and the issues of concern were also documented in a letter to SADC Justice Ministers.

In Botswana a taskforce has been formed and has drafted a proposed catalogue of activities geared towards creating awareness prior to the signing of the SADC Gender and Development Protocol. The short comings of the draft protocol have been publicised in other SADC states such as Zambia and Mauritius.

The Alliance @ the SADC HOS Summit

The Southern African Protocol Alliance plans to hold a parallel session to the SADC Heads of State Summit from 14-16 August. The civil society gender summit will bring together activists from around the region in a final lobbying and advocacy effort on the Protocol; as well as plan for future work. The parallel session will be held in Sandton, where the Heads of State summit is taking place. Participants will divide into caucus groups around the key strategic areas of the Protocol and agree on how these thematic groups will work in the future. One of these work streams will be on GBV, and this group will consider how to take forward the proposals on GBV indicators. The Alliance meeting will also witness the launch of an Economic Justice Network and a book called “Business Unusual: Gender and the Economy in Southern Africa” based on media training conducted by GL in ten Southern African countries.  For more information contact Pamela Mhlanga on


Making laws matter By Lorato Moalusi-Sakufiwa
Ask the average person on the street about how protected they feel by national and international laws or Protocols, and you will likely find varied responses.  Some may have faith in these instruments, while others will likely say how the complexity of the legal system and how laws translate into the real world leave them sceptical.  Ask the question again, particularly of the most impoverished and marginalised women in the region, and you will likely find that many are not aware of the rights that they have, and of those who are, many will say that the legal system does not work for them.  Making sure that legal protections are in place is vital, but part of the process is making sure that these laws are really put into practice.  

SADC Member States have committed to a number of different national, regional, and international agreements on gender and women’s rights. The uniqueness of the draft Gender and Development Protocol up for review at the August 2008 Heads of State Meeting, is that it brings together various SADC commitments related to gender in one document and addresses gender dynamics overlooked in other instruments.  This proposed Protocol is one of the important instruments expected to bring equality of women and men and empowerment of women in the region. Yet, like all legal instruments, the laws in place are only as good as how they are implemented on the ground. It will therefore be important that following adoption, Member States ratify, domesticate, and implement the Protocol immediately.

Full report

Lesotho: Workshops for MPs on the Domestic Violence Law

There is no law in Lesotho that deals with domestic violence except the common law provisions. Following the National Action Plan (NAP) workshop in Lesotho, PHELA is holding workshops for Parliamentarians on the Domestic Violence Law. It is hoped that the Domestic Violence Law will be enacted as a law before the end of the Seventh Parliament.
View the draft Lesotho National Action Plan to End Gender Violence.  
Malawi: Draft Malawian labour law to fight child trafficking in the SADC region
Perpetrators of human trafficking in Malawi must brace for tougher times as the Malawi Law Commission (MLC) recently announced it had embarked on the review of a special law to address the current gaps in the problems related to human trafficking.

“The absence of such a reform has resulted in the failure to protect people and address the plight of victims of human trafficking”, the Nation newspaper quoted MLS Assistant Chief Law Reform Officer who is also chairing the special committee to review the current labour law, Chizaso Nyirongo. The new law is aimed at addressing the gaps in the current labour law in dealing especially with child traffickers who have evaded prosecution due to the lack of a strong legal framework.  

According to the current labour law which is derived from the UN Charter on Human Rights, human trafficking is the removal of body organs, slavery, forced labour, sexual exploitation, child labour and child smuggling. There have been increasing cases in Malawi of women and girls including little children being smuggled out of the country through the porous borders of Mchinji and Karonga in the northern region for onward delivery to foreign markets. The smuggled people are sold as sex slaves and prostitutes.


Botswana: Kagisano Women’s Shelter offers a place of refuge 
Kagisano Women’s Shelter, a safe place for women and children in Botswana continues to provide counselling services for abused the abusers and their children. According to social worker Omphemetse Johannes, members of the public are extensively utilising their services. According to Johannes in May this year the shelter attended to 22 cases of physical abuse and related gender based violence cases. 

Integrated approaches, budgetary allocations  

Mauritius: Budget friendly to mothers and women

By Saskia Virahsawmy-Naidoo
It is not easy being a single mother. On the small island of Mauritius, where private lives become public, the traditional and conventional society usually considers single motherhood taboo, with fingers pointing and accusations of loose morals flying. Yet, recognising the reality of single motherhood, the 2008-2009 national budget announced by Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Rama Sithanen makes concrete plans to encourage their economic independence and ability to care for their children.   For many women, this programme will help them to get on their feet, while ensuring that their children are cared for. Patricia Migale,* a single mother of three children, is relieved. “I will now be able to earn a decent living without abandoning my kids. The future looks brighter now,” she said.

This coming August, leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will review the draft Protocol on Gender and Development. Article 19 of the Protocol stipulates, “by 2015 ensure equal access, benefit and opportunities for women in trade and entrepreneurship.” Though Mauritius is already taking bold steps forward, regional commitment to equal access to economic resources will only serve to strengthen SADC as a whole. Leaders often make commitments and promises, but plans fall through when it comes to implementation. Governments must have financial plans for change, if real change is to happen. Full article

South Africa: Budget from a Children’s perspective
This research report concerns three budget sub-programmes, which contain Children’s Act funding, and compares what is needed to implement the Children’s Act to what is being provided by the provincial departments.

Comparing the costing estimates to the actual budgets shows that there is a large gap between what is needed even at a minimum level and what the provincial departments are planning to provide. However, despite this large gap the analysis shows that there has been significant budget growth in the Children’s Act service areas. Read more

Zambia: Men’s Net calls for victim compensation
The Men’s Network in Zambia has called for perpetrators to be obliged to make financial compensation to victims of defilement and other sexual offences. Network Coordinator Nelson Banda said this will enable victims and families to access medical services. The network is proposing that perpetrators who are in penshionable jobs should surrender part of their pension or salary to the victim and family. Banda noted that perpetrators have little regard for the law because they do no pay heavily for their offences. Read more 

Social, political, cultural and economic

Zimbabwe: Constitution over custom protects women

By Emilia Muchawa
The case of Zimbabwean woman Venia Magaya is well-known in Southern Africa. Magaya brought a legal case contesting eviction from the house she had been living in all the way to the Supreme Court. Magaya’s half-brother forced her to leave the home she had been living in when her father passed away, and argued to the court that women could not inherit the same as men. Magaya lost. The court gave precedence to customary law over the bill of rights. They ruled that women could not be equal to men before the law because of African cultural norms and "the nature of African society," making customary law immune from the non-discrimination clause. A characteristic feature of the legal systems of all the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries is the co-existence of customary and religious laws alongside the perceived European law.

A clause that makes explicit the supremacy of constitutional rights over customary, religious or other laws in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development being reviewed at the upcoming Heads of State Summit in August will be an important yardstick for countries to measure against in their ongoing law reform processes. The SADC Protocol Alliance, comprised of more than 16 organisations and experts from the region, is calling for the Protocol to state explicitly that where there are contradictions between customary law and Constitutional provisions for gender equality the latter is given precedence. The reality for most women in Southern Africa is that constitutional and legal provisions mean very little because in reality customary and or religious laws govern their lives. Thus, for women to have meaningful legal protection, their rights must be enshrined in laws that are not open to interpretation. Full article

Public education and awareness

Botswana: Empowering women through the use of ICTs

Realising the role that Information and Communication Technology plays in empowering women, GEMSA BOMWA held a two day workshop from 11- 12 June 2008 on ICTs. The workshop was funded by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The theme for the workshop was “Empowering Women through the use of ICTs”. In this information era where the world has been turned into one global village, information plays a key role in changing the plight of the previously marginalised groups such as women. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication Science and Technology Festina Bakwena made the keynote address. Participants received certificates of attendance from GEMSA/BOMWA.

Lesotho: Workshops on reproductive rights
As part of the National Action Plan on GBV, Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association is holding Workshops in selected Community Councils in 5 Districts of Lesotho. The Project addresses reproductive rights and advocates for understanding of abortion as a problem faced by women when they are arrested for it. The approach is to gain insight into the women’s experience of abortion.

Swaziland: Vote for a woman campaign

Swaziland launched the “Vote for a Woman Campaign” on 2 May 2008 to mark the start of vigorous campaigns to encourage women to stand up, vote and be voted for, as well as encourage men to elect, support and vote for women for equal representation in decision making positions including parliament.

The Government of Swaziland failed to meet the target of 30% women in decision making by 2005 set in the 1997 SADC Declaration on Gender and Development. This benchmark has since been raised to 50% by 2015.  The country’s new Constitution provides for equal participation by women and men in decision-making. The challenge is now for women to take advantage of these provisions. The “Vote for Woman Campaign” aims to address some of the challenges encountered in the 2003 elections in which a number of women withdrew due to intimidation by men and the influence from the family and community.

Opinion and Commentary

Zimbabwe: Women ignored in TB care 

By Masimba Biriwasha
The topic of tuberculosis (TB) is capturing worldwide attention, including from the media. Most stories focus on informing the public about resistant forms of TB, providing accounts of patients’ flights from hospital, and exploring the very important susceptibility of people living with HIV.   Unfortunately, there is little to no attention to women’s unique vulnerability in the current discussion, both in the media and in regional forums. For pregnant women living in areas with high TB infection rates, there are increased chances of transmission of TB to a child before, during delivery or after birth.

Even with the availability of TB drugs, women’s socio-economic status and gender roles, including child-bearing and caring, puts them at high risk of both HIV and TB. For many women in the region, the costs required to access health care centres for TB treatment are usually out of reach due to poverty and undermined socio-economic positions.   Just as importantly, since women are at the forefront of caring for people infected with TB, there is a need to ensure that these women are able to protect themselves, and their families, from infection. There is need for huge financial, human, research and technological investments to fight the problem, but such investments will work only if they radically put women’s health needs at the core. Read more

Uganda: Gay activists’ arrest shows HIV response gaps
By Fred Katerere

The arrest of three Ugandan activists protesting the exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities from HIV/AIDS prevention efforts sparked hot debate among the 1700 global participants of the HIV/AIDS Implementers Meeting held in Kampala the first week of June. The protest, and subsequent arrest, points out how responses to health issues such as HIV/ AIDS often ignore LGBT and other marginalised communities, and the close links between human rights and the pandemic.  Taking an advantage of the high profile meeting, Pepe Juliana Onzema, a freelance journalist, Usaam Mukwaaya, and Valantini Katende entered the venue with posters expressing their anger at discrimination facing the community. ‘’Gay Ugandans also need HIV prevention,’’ read one of the posters, while another read “Since 1983 up to 2008 zero shillings (Ugandan currency) to HIV prevention for gay Ugandans.”

The LGBT community faces discrimination in many African countries, hindering their access to many services, including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Given the generally accepted estimate that about 10% of any population is gay, this has far-reaching consequences for prevention efforts. UNAIDS’ 2007 AIDS epidemic update notes that while Uganda was the first country in sub-Saharan to record a significant decrease in the deadly disease’s prevalence rate now there was a threat of the rate shooting up because of risky behaviour. It states that there is an urgent need to revive and adapt the kind of prevention efforts that helped bring Uganda’s HIV epidemic under control in the 1990s.’’ This need will only be met through the involvement of all people. Full Article

South Africa: Facing up to the real causes of xenophobia  

By Colleen Lowe Morna
Johannesburg, 1 June: Several hundred inches have been written and hours of airtime devoted to the causes of the xenophobic eruptions in South Africa over the last few weeks. Few of these analyses have dared confront the central issue: the raw prejudice of South Africans against foreigners.  Yet is has been there for all to see. Take, for example, the ticker tape that runs under SABC’s Interface programme on Sunday nights. Last week the question was “will South Africans ever except foreigners?” Two thirds said no, and augmented their vote with lines like: “They should go home!” and “South Africa is for South Africans!” This week the question was should foreigners be reintegrated into society? Again, two thirds said no, and the raw emotions- “no they must go back”- continued to flow. 

The people sending these messages are not poor township dwellers. They are middle class South Africans, black and white. To say that poverty is the cause of xenophobia is like saying that poverty, not HIV, is the cause of AIDS.  Scarce resources exacerbate any kind of human conflict or ailment. But they are seldom the root cause. Somewhere in the volumes of coverage, the Sunday Times quoted a World Values Survey showing that South Africa is, officially, the most xenophobic country in the world, with one third of all South Africans stating that the government should deport all foreigners living in the country. The country’s wealthy, not the poor, were exposed in this survey “as one of the groups most hostile to foreigners.” Xenophobia, like homophobia, sexism, and racism has its roots in the failure to accept “otherness” mixed with misguided notions about the superiority of self. That fragile self is constantly threatened by the potential power of the other, whether numerical; social, political or economic.

Addressing Gender violence: What works?

In the next few editions we will feature a series of best practices of the prevention of gender based violence.  These case studies were gathered during a mapping exercise of promising violence prevention models in South Africa. Gender Links was commissioned by the IDMT under the leadership of the NPA-SOCA Unit and UNICEF.

You are invited to submit case studies of ‘What is working in addressing gender based violence." Contributions should be sent t Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah:

This month we feature an example examples of programmes which focus on children and the youth.

South Africa: Child and youth focused initiatives

Nerina-Stepping Stones-a One Stop Youth Justice Centre- EST

The overall purpose of the Centre is to provide for prevention and early intervention to avoid children coming unnecessarily into the system; receiving criminal records. It also ensures that youth and their families receive all of the services required under one roof. The ultimate goal of Nerina is to return the young person to the care of their families as soon as possible to promote the competence of the family and community.

There are currently only three One-Stop Youth Justice Centres, nationwide. The concept of a One-Stop Youth Justice Centre was first launched as a pilot project in Port Elizabeth in August 1997, as a result of the work of the former Inter-Ministerial Committee [IMC] on Youth at Risk.  Because of the success of the Centre in Port Elizabeth, the other two centres were rolled out in Bloemfontein (in Mangaung); Port Nolloth (in the Northern Cape).  The Centre in Port Elizabeth was moved to a brand-new child-friendly building in May 2007 called the “Nerina One-Stop Child Justice Centre” [Nerina]. Since the centre was known as “Stepping Stones” for almost ten years, most people in the community still refer to it as “Stepping Stones.” For the purpose of this report the new name, Nerina, will be used to discuss the past and present state of the Centre. 

Nerina emphasises the involvement of families of youth and significant others in service delivery. It attempts to ensure empowerment of their client system by utilising diversion programmes to avoid the criminal prosecution of young people.

Upcoming events




10-11 July 

Gender Violence Indicators Research meeting

10 August

GEMSA General Meeting

10 August

Gender and Media awards

11-12 August

Gender and Media Summit

13 August

Launch: Business Unusual, Gender Economy and the Media

14-16 August

Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance meeting @the SADC Summit

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