Press release – Know where your children are

By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, Provincial DAWN chairperson:

DAWN is shocked by the tragic suffocation of five young cousins from Kakamas. We commiserate with the family on the loss of their children.

The death of a child is a very heavy burden for a parent to bear.

We hope that the horrific event serves as a wake-up call to parents to be vigilant and to be aware of their children’s whereabouts. An accident can happen in an instant. Young children should not be left unsupervised while playing, especially not when playing around dangerous objects.

We take note of the fact that SAPS has opened an inquest into the matter. We call for a thorough investigation and believe that, if any negligence can be proved, criminal charges should be pursued against the relevant parties.

Mismanagement can set rapist free

By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DAWN Provincial Chairperson:

The unacceptable mismanagement of a rape case in Deben highlights the cracks in service delivery to victims of sexual offences. Due to the unprofessional conduct of the police in this specific case, the alleged rapist could very well walk away from the crime he committed without suffering any consequences.

While many officers are going beyond the call of duty on a daily basis, it is the mismanagement of this matter which shows why 62% of people in the province believe that the police are lazy and 29% believe they are harsh to victims. The Victims of Crime Survey 2014/15 further shows that only 32% of people in the province believe that the police respond to crime in a timely way.

The victim was left for 31 hours after the rape occurred before a police officer came to take her for the necessary forensic tests. In Deben, where there is a small police station, the correct procedure is for an officer who is on standby to come from Kathu and to take the victim to hospital. While the rape occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning and a statement was taken from the victim shortly thereafter, an officer only arrived at 11:00 on Friday morning to collect her. She was first taken to Kathu and then to Kuruman.

During the 31 hours when the victim was waiting for assistance from the police, she could neither wash herself nor change her clothes. The rape was so brutal that her stomach emptied itself. To be left in this horrifying position is traumatising and it easily could have been avoided if the police acted with a minimum standard of professionalism.

Three days after the rape occurred, the crime scene was left untouched as the police had not yet come to do the required investigation. In the absence of a professional investigation with strong evidence, the perpetrator could be left off the hook. This is especially outrageous when you consider that the rapist is known to the victim and that he is currently out on parole for another crime.

The local DAWN branch has requested an investigation into the matter.

It needs to be established why the standby officer did not take the victim to hospital immediately, why the crime scene was left untouched and what action will be taken against those police officer who failed the victim in her time of need.

Every South African deserves to live in safety and security. When that safety is compromised, we deserve to be served by police who care about our needs and conduct themselves with complete professionalism.

DAWN to host 16 Days of Activism event in Despatch

Media Advisory:

DAWN (Democratic Alliance Women’s Network) will gather at the Ernest Swanepoel Hall in Despatch on Saturday, 5 December 2015 in solidarity with the global community that embraces the battle to stop violence against women.

We live in a violent, dangerous country in which one in three women will be raped, ukutwala continues to rob girl children of their right to education.

We will not stop our fight for equality, fairness and freedom until every woman in the Eastern Cape can walk the streets safely without fear of vilification, assault and rape.

Details of the event are as follows:

Date: Saturday, 5 December 2015

Time: 10:00

Venue: Ernest Swanepoel Hall, Despatch

There will be opportunities for photographs and interviews

Count the DA in for everyday activism against violence

By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DAWN Provincial Chairperson:

The following extract is from a speech delivered today by provincial chairperson of the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network, Safiyia Stanfley, during the Debate on 16 Days of Activism in sitting of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature held in Douglas today.

Moving towards a non-violent society is a worthy ambition. Count the Democratic Alliance in. Our Values Charter shows that we stand with all the hard-working, freedom-loving people of our country who want to live and raise their families in safe communities. Through our collective efforts we can – and must – make progress to a non-violent society.

It is well-known that the abuse of alcohol is a risk factor for domestic violence, which affects one in four South African women.

Considering the facts, it remains a concern for the Democratic Alliance that the Northern Cape Liquor Board approves of liquor license without conducting a sufficient number of compliance investigations. While it approved 55% of the permanent and 90% of the occasional liquor license applications made in the 2014/15 year, the Board rejected only 7% of the total liquor license applications. And while the Board reports having conducted 2 264 compliance investigations, it would have had to conduct more than 3 300 investigations just to meet the industry standard for the amount of licenses it issued in the past financial year.

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the current campaign from the department of Trade and Industry to curb alcohol abuse in the festive season. The announcement from the Northern Cape Liquor Board earlier this week that there will be a programme from their side to enforce liquor licenses will surely tie in with this commendable campaign.

Handing out liquor licenses like lollipops increases the risk of violence in our society.

The Democratic Alliance calls on the Liquor Board to count itself in throughout the year, not just for special occasions, and to exercise daily restraint in regulating the provincial liquor industry.

Once we have become realistic about the challenges, we can become everyday activists striving ceaselessly for a non-violent society. It might be considered trite to say we need three hundred and sixty five days of activism and not merely sixteen, but it remains true.

Of course, it is easy to arrange a feel few-good activities during these sixteen days which creates a superficial awareness of the campaign – but what do we do when the sixteen days have passed? Do we still count ourselves in or do we brush it off so we can hop on the next bandwagon?

We need to investigate methods of realising the goal of non-violence through every celebration hosted by government. How can we hope to be successful in creating a non-violent society if we confine a discussion of this importance to these chambers during these sixteen days alone? Disability Month, for example, overlaps with the Sixteen Days of Activism Campaign. Surely, there cannot be a better opportunity to address the fact that girls with disabilities are more likely to be sexually abused while boys with disabilities are more likely to be physically abused.

And we need the whole of the criminal justice system to be on the side of non-violence.

We have recently experienced a wave of violence against police officers, with more than fifty police officers dying in the line of duty since January. It is easy to forget that amongst the dead are women who sacrificed themselves to make our society safer. Those who patrol our streets at night and those who risk their safety to protect us, should in turn be protected by us.

As a country, we have a strong framework established by the Domestic Violence Act to ensure the theoretical safety of each person in her or his own home. However, the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and compliance with protection orders are known to be problematic.

We are all aware of a high-profile incident reported in June where a woman was seriously assaulted at her home. We need to ask – if a woman cannot be safe in her own house, if she cannot be safe with a protection order in her hands and a police officer at her side, how and when can she be part of a non-violent society? If this sickening case does not serve as a wake-up call that much work lies ahead in realising our collective ambition, nothing will.

The South African Police Services must become properly resourced and adequately trained to ensure that every protection order that is issued, is upheld. Courts do not issue protection orders because they have nothing else to do with their time, but because the physical safety and security of a person is threatened.

The Democratic Alliance supports the message that has been consistently sent from the Northern Cape High Court this year that there is no place in our non-violent society for those who violate the innocent.

If we are realistic and work on a daily basis, if we can count the whole criminal justice system in, we will make progress towards a non-violent society. For the sake of our shared future, this must happen sooner rather than later.

Women are pillars in our society

This speech was delivered by Andrew Louw, Leader in the Northern Cape, During the launch of the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) in Upington on Saturday 26 September 2015.







It is indeed a privilege and honour to address you all fellow democrats this morning, on this important and historic day for us as a party in the Northern Cape.


Today is a very important day for the party as it serves as the launch of constituting our key party structure, the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network.


We can never dispute the role women play in our society as pillars not only in our individual households but in communities as a whole.


Dit is waar as mense se: As jy wil iets sê, vra ‘n man; maar as jy wil iets gedoen moet word, dan vra jy ‘n vrou.


The women are the doers; they are ready to get the job at hand done without much hesitation, and today with this event we want to recognize and appreciate the role of our women.


We want to appreciate the mothers who wake up early in the morning to prepare the children for the day.


We want to appreciate the mothers who catch the early bus to work.


We want to appreciate the mothers who keep the household intact during the day.


We want to appreciate the mothers who make sure food is ready in the evening for everyone to enjoy. Wat is ‘n huis sonder ‘n moeder!!!


Moreover we want to appreciate the women who run daycare centres in communities and soup kitchens to feed the hungry.


Just like the women of 1956 who made the historic anti-pass laws march to then Prime Minister of South Africa JG Strijdom, you are zealous and very courageous and for that we take our off  hats to honour you.


The women of 1956 broke that stereotype that women belong in the kitchen. Women had once again shown that the label that women are politically incompetent and immature, tied to the home, was outdated and inaccurate.


Today we see women at the fore front of development, be it in politics, government and churches. Yes there is still a long road to total women emancipation.


However we have seen good women rise and lead amongst us. Our former Federal Leader Helen Zille led this organisation for successful eight years. She took our party from a mere opposition player to a party of government. In the 2014 elections, we won 4 million votes.


Our interim DAWN leader right here in the province, my colleague Safiyia Stanfley has been a face for many women in this province, through her role as Interim DAWN leader as well as our spokesperson on gender and women in the legislature.


She headed our operations in the province with dedication before her election to serve in the provincial legislature.


Today our operations once again are run by a level-headed woman in the person of Dalmaine Christians. We still see more young women rising in our ranks and we remain optismistic about the future, especially the up-coming local government elections.


Ons wil meer voue raadslede sien!!


But colleagues and fellow democrats we should not shy away from the truth that many women are still at the sidelines of economic development in our land.


While South Africa’s general unemployment is estimated at 25, 7%, it rises up to 50% amongst African women. About 41% of these women live in the rural areas where economic prospects are limited.


South African women still face serious challenges in realising their full potential.


Issues of unemployment, poverty, inequality and violence have increased in the country and affects women harshly.


Even amongst the employed women, the majority is found in low paying jobs such as domestic work; tellers in the retail sector; or shop-floor workers in the textile sector that has been shedding jobs over the past years.


A number of women are in the informal sector of our economy, with little prospects of economic advancement.


The severe under-representation of women in various economic sectors and in decision making positions in the private sector demonstrates the need for urgent intervention to improve the status of women in our society.


However the day is coming that under a DA government women empowerment will be high on the list to advance our country.  Full support will be given to women-run small businesses; bursaries for young girls will be a priority. Opportunities will be expanded to empower and develop women. That change colleagues is needed and is needed now.


Fellow democrats that change is coming!


Change that will see our courageous women live up to their full potential.


Change that brings freedom.


Change that brings fairness.


Change that brings opportunity.


To my fellow democrats who will be elected to serve in the various leadership positions for DAWN I wish you all the best. I pledge on behalf of the entire party leadership in the province we will give you 100% support as you drive and champion women’s issues in the Northern Cape.


I thank you.




Kea leboga!!!

DA Women’s Network continues to fight for gender justice

By Celeste Barker (MPL), Provincial chairperson: DA Women’s Network:

The DA Women’s Network in the Eastern Cape will hold its provincial Women’s Day event at the Jarman Hall in Schauderville, Port Elizabeth from 10:00 this morning.

The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network pickets for gender justice because South Africa is a stunning country but we are struggling against a socio-economic heritage of inequality, selective justice and unfairness.

We have one of the best constitutions in the world but battle to translate the paper rights of our constitution into real rights for South African women.

For example, black rural women remain the most marginalised, excluded, poor population group in South Africa. We have the highest rape rate in the world (one in three daily), the incidence of femicide is high (three women are murdered by their intimate partners daily in South Africa) and gender based violence is out of control.

History shows that people have the power to change society, to topple unjust governments and to secure justice.

For these reasons, Dawn in the Eastern Cape is an activist organisation. We stand for constitutional justice and women’s rights, we protect the rights enshrined in our Bill of Rights and we do so peacefully and silently when a crime against a woman rocks our province with horror, pain and outrage.

We believe that violence begets violence, so we picket in dignified silence because public humiliation and exposure is a deterrent and picketing in a group is a positive, non-violent and empowering tool to highlight gender based violence and to “be the change we want to see in the world” (Gandhi).

We are building structures that will inexorably transform the patriarchal, violent, sometimes misogynistic and often lawless culture in South Africa.
This is a dehumanising culture that robs us of our dignity. It entrenches a fear-filled, silenced climate and commodifies our bodies to cattle class and broodstock status.

In many ways South African instances of gender based violence — including rape, femicide, human trafficking, verbal, emotional and physical abuse — repeat the unfair, unfree, unequal, abusive history of the slave trade and the reduction of South African women’s humanity to tradable goods and animal status.

South African women do not enjoy full constitutional rights. We are kept behind trellidoors and panic buttons for safety’s sake. This culture supports unfairness, limited freedom and limited opportunities. South African women are imprisoned at home. Our fundamental paper right to equality is unreal and obstructed.

South African women are powerful.  The success of the anti-apartheid struggle and our phenomenal constitution testifies to this history or let’s rather say this “her story”!

One day our grandchildren and their daughters will be proud of their goggo’s contribution to social transformation, freedom, fairness and equal opportunities for all.

East Cape Dawn is contributing to building a rights-based, safe, non-violent South Africa.

Join us. We protect you because we insist on constitutional democracy for every single woman in our province regardless of her status or the circumstances of her birth.

DA Eastern Cape celebrates Women’s Day in Nelson Mandela Bay

Media Advisory:

On Monday, 10 August 2015, the Democratic Alliance Eastern Cape and DA Womens Network (DAWN) will be celebrating Womens Day in Schauderville, Nelson Mandela Bay.

DAWN Provincial Chairperson, Celeste Barker MPL, will address residents and activists in Schauderville, and will be joined by Bobby Stevenson MPL, DA Eastern Cape deputy leader, and Veliswa Mvenya MPL, DA Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson.

The delegation will engage with the community and specifically women in the community who lead in the objective of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.

Date:  Monday, 10 August 2015
Time: 10.30
Venue: Jarman Hall, Highfield Road, Schauderville, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

There will opportunities for photographs and interviews

Women’s Day: DA to commemorate the day under the theme “Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity for all Women”

Media Advisory:

On 8 August 2015 and 9 August 2015, DA Mpumalanga Women’s Network (DAWN) will commemorate women’s day around the province under the theme “Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity for all Women” .

Provincial DAWN Interim Leader, Tarnia Baker MP, will lead the main event in Volksrust, Pixley Ka Seme municipality, Baker will be joined by the Provincial Leader, James Masango MP, Constituency Chairperson Cllr. Len Joubert and local DA councillors.

The leadership will also engage the community during a public meeting on the party’s Vision 2029 campaign including the DA’s newly adopted Values Charter which is based on Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity.

The events will take place as follows:

Date: Saturday, 08 August 2015

Time: 10:00

Venue: Volksrust Town Hall, Pixley Ka Seme

Saturday 8 August 2015, Provincial Chairperson, Jane Sithole MPL will be joined by Political Head for Mashishing, Farhat Essack MP, Constituency Chairperson, Cllr. Johan Ligthelm and local DA Councillors

Date: Saturday, 08 August 2015

Time: 10:00

Venue: Matibidi, Leroro, Mashishing

Sunday 9 August 2015, Provincial Deputy Leader, Sonja Boshoff MP will be joined by Constituency Chairperson for Mbombela, Cllr. Trudie Grove Morgan and local DA Councillors

Date: Sunday, 09 August 2015

Time: 10:00

Venue: Agricultural Research Council, Mbombela

There will be an opportunity for photographs and interviews

DAWN to picket outside North End Magistrates’ Courts for “Justice for Jayde”

By Celeste Barker (MPL):

Christopher Panayiotou who is accused of murdering his wife, Jayde Panayiotou, will appear in the North End Magistrates Court in Port Elizabeth tomorrow, Friday 19 June 2015.

DAWN (Democratic Alliance Women’s Network) will picket silently outside the North End Magistrates Court in Port Elizabeth (PE) for “Justice for Jayde” tomorrow.

We uphold the founding principles of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We stand for fairness, freedom and equal opportunity for all women regardless of their circumstances.

We plead with the good citizens of PE to honour the principle of “Innocent ’till proven guilty” in court and ask the public not to prejudge or stigmatise anyone involved in this case.

Let’s respect the rights of the Inggs and Panayiotou families to privacy, dignity and a fair trial.

Justice will be served

Van Der Linden sentence pleases DAWN

By Celeste Barker MPL, DAWN Provincial Chairperson:

DAWN (Democratic Alliance Women’s Network) is satisfied with the sentencing of Morne van der Linden for the brutal murder of his wife Roxanne’s grandmother, Catherine Stofberg, 79, and her uncle, Kenneth Morar, 54, at their Salsoneville home in the Northern Areas on 9 August 2014.

The 22 year jail sentence will allow Van der Linden enough time to rehabilitate while reflecting on his excessive violence. The accused snapped in a fit of rage and murdered the victims with a hammer after which he proceeded to kick and trample them.  He was an un-rehabilitated alcoholic.

The DA is deeply distressed to hear of the tragic social circumstances, alcoholism and gender violence in homes.

We encourage families to speak up, seek help and break the silence that surrounds abuse.

DAWN expresses heartfelt sympathy and condolences to all families and community members who are affected by this tragedy.