Picture: ALON SKUY
Picture: ALON SKUY

Welcome to the third episode of our Business Law Focus podcast, hosted by editor Evan Pickworth. 

Gender-based violence (GBV) is an ongoing ill bedeviling SA society and it needs to be rooted out as a priority. To do this, we need collective action and a firm commitment from stakeholders across society, the government and the private sector.

In this episode, panelsts Patrick Bracher, a director at Norton Rose Fulbright, and Kevin O’Brien, head of risk and sustainability at Spar Group, call for a firmer commitment by role-players, driven by practical and actionable intent.

Harnessing the powerful provisions of the Disaster Management Act, with its strict controls and resources, could be a good place to start if the will is there to make a real impact.

Listen now:

The background

In a recent column, Bracher wrote: “The latest political game is to say a lot about violence against women and children as the scourge of SA and to do nothing useful about it. There is something that can be done in a way in which we now have lots of experience. The situation must be declared a disaster under the Disaster Management Act.

“A disaster, according to the act, includes a progressive human-caused occurrence, which causes death or injury and a significant disruption to the life of a community. The definition goes on to say that a disaster must be of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected by the disaster to cope with its effects using only their own resources.

“What could better describe the situation in SA? Some women are scared to go out and others are scared to go home. Parents of young girls are racked with anxiety about how to bring their children up safely. Those affected clearly cannot cope with this disaster using only their own resources. Huge resources are needed to deal with this scourge. Once the disaster is declared, the law allows the government to apply its resources to manage the disaster with a special emphasis on prevention. There is a great deal that can be done.”

National retailer Spar, meanwhile, has joined the growing chorus of voices who have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and other SA leaders to recognise and act on the increasing levels of GBV in the country. It is driving a major national awareness and support campaign.

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