A post office in Claremont is a hive of activity and it's business as usual but it is now a place that is tainted with evil, the place that a heinous crime took place. It was here that University of Cape Town first-year student Uyinene Mrwetyana was brutally murdered on August 24.
With news headlines saturated with endless violence against women and children, more than 600 000 South Africans have added their voice to various petitions and many are planning to attend marches to Parliament this Thursday. This follows, apart from the aforementioned rape and murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 14-year-old girl who was found murdered in a backyard, the murder of female boxing champion Leighandre 'Baby Lee' Jegels and the kidnapping of Grade R Vanderbijlpark pupil Amy Lee de-Jager who was later returned physically unharmed.
The big question though, "Is the government listening?" On Monday, in response to Uyinene's murder, the official SA government Twitter feed on Monday lamented that violence, rape and assault on women had become "so common," but was slated for saying that women should "not allow themselves to become victims." This is what the official tweet said:
"Violence and abuse against women have no place in our society. Govt is calling on women to speak out, and not allow themselves to become victims by keeping quiet. Women who speak out are able to act, eﬀect change and help others."
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) September 2, 2019.
One user commented: "I am struggling to understand the phrasing of this statement. These survivors were not victims because they didn’t speak out. They were victims because their human rights were violated. Femicide in South Africa is a crime against humanity." Others questioned the use of the word "allow".
"She was raped and murdered in a post office. She was trying to run a goddamn errand. You are a disgrace," one user said.
The response from government's twitter handle is a clear indication of the South African government's lacklustre and unenthusiastic approach in dealing with increasing femicide in South Africa. South Africans have called for a National Shutdown which has culminated into Thursday's march. By Tuesday afternoon, a petition to "bring Back The Death Sentence in SA For Crimes Against Women" had obtained over 382 000 signatures, while another petition calling on Parliament to "declare Gender Based Violence in South Africa a State of Emergency" had more than 253 000 signatures. Details of Thursday's march can be found on this Facebook page.