The Minister responsible for women in the Presidency called gender-based violence a challenge, rather than a crisis on Wednesday. At the Centre For the Study of Violence And Reconciliation, Minister Susan Shabangu said the following at the launch of a new study on the prevalence of violence against women in South Africa:

‘I don’t want to say we have a crisis in South Africa; we have a challenge. Because, if you call it a challenge we’ll be able to stand up and confront it.’

Despite shocking statistics and recent incidents of gender-based violence, Minister Shabangu has downplayed the issue. Gender activists had the following to say about Shabangu’s statement on social media, and referenced an extensive roundtable discussion that Redi Tlhabi hosted earlier in the year on Radio 702,  to highlight the severity of the problem:


The #Femicide roundtable discussion addressed gender-based violence with gender activists and rape survivors. The panel focused on the violence and language of patriarchy, the death of Karabo Mokoena and the phenomenon of victim-blaming, among other areas. Panellists included Nomboniso Gasa, a gender activist, researcher and writer, and Lebo Ramafoko, CEO of the Soul City Institute. In the panel, the activists concluded that the South African government will not take the lead on addressing GBV, and Minister Shabangu’s comments appear to support that conclusion.