CAPE TOWN, South Africans have had to confront “the darkest forces of our nature” in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in reference to rising gender-based violence. “As a nation, we have witnessed the brutality perpetrated by men against women and against children,” the president said in his New Year message. South Africans have seen lives, both young and old, ended with brutal violence, Ramaphosa said. “We have seen fear in our homes, schools and streets,” he said. The year of 2019 was marked by a dramatic rise in gender-based violence that has claimed the lives of dozens of women and girls. South Africans, however, have stood as one in their determination to end the crimes perpetrated by those men who have no respect for the lives, the rights or the dignity of women and children, said Ramaphosa. An outpouring of grief and anger has incited the nation to action and to undertake an emergency response plan that will turn the tide on this national shame, Ramaphosa said. “Despite the difficulties of this past year, day-by-day, we draw closer to our ambition of a better life for all South Africans,” he said. Day by day, South Africa is drawing closer to its goal of providing quality healthcare to all its citizens and redistributing land to all those who work it and all those who need it, the president said. The country is also making progress towards its aim to provide free higher education to all students from poor and middle-class families, and to ensure all children benefit from early childhood development, Ramaphosa said. He said South Africa, after taking up its position as chair of the African Union in January, will seek to work with its sister countries to realize an Africa Free Trade Area that stretches from Cape Town to Cairo, and from Dakar to Mombasa. “We know only too well the enormity of the challenges that confront us, but we are united in the knowledge that we have the means and the determination to overcome them,” the president said.

Source: African News Agency