CAPE TOWN – Combatting violence against women is high on Parliament’s agenda again this week.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to discuss a new approach to combatting gender-based violence.
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and NCOP chairperson Amos Masondo have both received the letter about the sitting, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
Wednesday’s joint sitting will be the third such sitting this year, following the two State of the Nation Addresses in February and in June.
Parliament has also been the centre of two debates in the National Assembly in as many weeks about gender-based violence, where MPs called for greater leadership on the matter.
The joint sitting will also be the first time the president calls an unscheduled sitting of both houses since former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan addressed both houses of Parliament during a state visit in 2013.
What will be different about Wednesday’s sitting compared to the last two debates on the issue is that it will see Ramaphosa address Parliament for the first time on the matter, following his televised address to the nation, two weeks ago where he called for legislation to be tightened to combat and deal with violence against women.
African National Congress chief whip Pemmy Majodina reacted to the president’s call last week: “The ANC caucus supports the president’s call to review the laws on domestic violence and sexual offences.”
Referring to violence perpetrated against women in the past couple of weeks, Ramaphosa stressed all South Africans have a responsibility to ensure these events become a turning point in the fight to end gender-based violence.
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