“The perpetrators of abuse are people who live among us. We know them and sometimes protect them. We must do better,” Mthembu said on Monday.
Last week, President Cyril Ramphosa launched the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, in Lephalale, Limpopo.
At the launch, President Ramaphosa updated the nation on progress in implementing the National Emergency Response Plan to combat gender-based violence and femicide.
“With this year’s campaign, we say enough is enough – 356 days to end Gender-Based violence and femicide (GBVF). We can no longer stand on the side-lines and watch how women and children continue to fall victim to gender-based violence and femicide,” said Mthembu.
The Minister’s comments came as he addressed the Mandela 100 Global Citizen Celebratory Reception in Morningside, Johannesburg.
“At the Global Citizen Festival 2018, we committed R157 million to Menstrual Hygiene Education and free sanitary products for poor learners in Budget Financial Year 2019. We have introduced a number of interventions to ensure that indigent women and girls are able to manage their menstrual cycle with dignity,” he said.
In the 2019/2020 budget, National Treasury made available R157 million to provide free sanitary pads to quintile 1-3 schools across the country’s nine provinces.
He added that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) January 2019 decision to allocate R275 per month to students for personal care was a victory for Women’s Rights in South Africa.
“The allowance disbursed to nearly 800 000 students for incidental or personal care needs, will most certainly be used for personal hygiene as well as sanitary products,” the Minister said.
The allocation takes into account the whole lives of student, who are typically black and come from an economically poor background. The allowance offers support to both young men and women.
The government also committed R2.8 billion at the Global Citizen Festival 2018 to eradicating unsafe pit latrines.
“In this regard, R700 million of the 2.8 billion has been allocated in the financial year 2019 Budget. A total of 787 schools had received appropriate sanitation facilities (with 1000 targeted for 2019),” the Minister said.
The government is working on eradicating all unsafe toilets in schools over the next three years.
“We will spend R800 million in 2020 to 2021 financial year and R1.3 billion will be spent in the 2021/2022 financial year. School infrastructure provision remains a contentious matter that requires agility, innovation for effective delivery to accelerate the achievements that have already been registered,” Mthembu said.
Since the President launched the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) Initiative, 787 schools have been provided with safe, age and grade-appropriate sanitation facilities, with the old pit latrines demolished.
Meanwhile, safe, age and grade-appropriate sanitation projects in 1 062 schools are either in the planning, design or construction stages.