(JOHANNESBURG, South Africa) 5 December 2022 – In response to the latest crime statistics reported earlier this month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called South Africa: “a nation that is seemingly at war with itself but much worse; a nation that is at war with the women of its country and the children of its country.”
According to police records, there were 558 women murdered in the first quarter of 2021. This number drastically increased in the first quarter of 2022, with 855 women murdered. These numbers fall within the broad category of gender-based violence (GBV), which is a disturbing and growing problem in South Africa.
GBV can take many forms, such as physical, sexual, emotional, financial or structural abuse, but it negatively impacts women and girls most. GBV can be perpetrated by an intimate partner, acquaintance, stranger or even an institution. Most (but not all) acts of interpersonal GBV are committed by men against women, and the man perpetrating the violence is often known to the woman, such as a partner or family member.
In order to find workable solutions, South African companies like Motus, SPAR and Standard Bank are taking a stand to address this societal scourge. The corporates partnered with colleagues, academics and NGOs on 15 November 2022 to respond to what’s being called the ‘hidden pandemic’ of GBV in South Africa. Using the ThinkWrong process, all participants in the Motus, SPAR and Standard Bank GBV ThinkWrong Blitz engaged in intense, fast-moving, hands-on, idea-generating sessions that produced a creative portfolio of accesible solutions.
Kathryn Baxter (Group Project Manager of SPAR) says: “In 2019, the SPAR Group Ltd committed itself to finding practical solutions to the serious issue of GBV in our country. Not only does abuse in all its forms cause damage to communities and society as a whole, it also has a negative impact on our economy and GDP. The initiative to end gender-based violence is an ongoing and consolidated effort to address gender-based violence and eradicate it from our communities, and no one person or organisation can supply all the answers. We, therefore, welcomed the collaboration between our companies and organisations at this Blitz to bring new, innovative and practical solutions to address this silent pandemic.”
Amelia Muller (Head of Culture, Leadership and Insights at Standard Bank) says: “Working tirelessly to create and sustain communities that are safe and protective of all of their members is the aim here.”
Cathy Storm (Head People and Culture: Business Transformation, Digital Innovation, Technology, Risk and Marketing at Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Bank) says: “I am inspired by the opportunity to explore possibilities together, and to collaborate to find solutions to GBV.”
Kerry Cassel (CEO of Motus Mobility Solutions) adds: “Every one of us has the constitutional right to live and work without fear of intimidation, prejudice, harassment or violence. Our basic human rights includes gender equality, so leading corporates like Motus, Standard Bank and SPAR have a common interest in trying to do something to help end this societal scourge. By addressing it in a united way, we can move forward towards a healthier society, where GBV can be reduced, hopefully, to hard-learned lessons found in our history books.”