SANDF condemns video of uniformed man abusing woman

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has condemned a video of an apparent soldier abusing a woman and has launched an investigation to identify the “coward”.

The video, widely circulated on social media, shows a man in SANDF camouflage uniform sitting on top of a woman, who can be heard moaning in distress. A bystander asks him to get off the woman and let her go. The man replies “I’m talking to my girl,” before standing up and attempting to grab the phone of the person filming the incident, which apparently took place in Pretoria on Friday 12 June.

The SANDF in a statement on Monday slammed the “most demeaning act of abuse” and said “investigations have been launched to identify the coward in the clip by the relevant Military Police officials.”

“The SANDF wholly and unreservedly supports national efforts and all campaigns against women and children abuse by individuals not worthy to be called men in the communities they come from. Any kind of gender based violence against women and children in the military community is unacceptable and is frowned upon,” SANDF spokesperson Colonel Ronald Maseko said.

“The SANDF condemns in its strongest terms, any type of abuse against women and children by any member of the SANDF. Currently, members of the military police have launched an investigation into the matter in order to bring the suspect to book to face the full might of the law as soon as possible.”

The incident comes as the government at the beginning of the week pledged to fight gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). “As government, we will continue to improve our response to GBVF by ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book, whilst taking good care of survivors,” Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said on Monday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa this week said South Africa is under siege, with the number of women dying in the hands of men increasing since the easing of lockdown regulations under level 3. He called for South Africans to end the culture of silence and report perpetrators to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“According to the SAPS, there has been an increase in violent crime, especially murders since we entered alert level 3. We need to understand what factors are fuelling this terrible trend and, as society as a whole, address them urgently,” the President said.

Ramaphosa is concerned that SA has one of the highest levels of intimate partner violence in the world and that about 51% of South African women have experienced violence at the hands of someone with whom they are in a relationship.

“In far too many cases of gender-based violence, the perpetrators are known to the victim, but they are also known to our communities. That is why we say this is a societal matter and not a matter of law enforcement alone.

“Gender-based violence thrives in a climate of silence. With our silence, by looking the other way because we believe it is a personal or family matter, we become complicit in this most insidious of crimes,” Ramaphosa stressed.