As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the world, in South Africa another highly visible epidemic in the form of gender-based violence (GBV) against women and children is on the rise.  

The Women in Mining committee at our South Africa Energy Coal Khutala colliery has launched a campaign against GBV involving both female and male employees. The campaign is in solidarity with those who have been victimised, while also demanding that perpetrators stop their acts of violence.  

In an address to employees, Khutala’s General Manager Eldoreen van der Wath said, “No woman, no child, no human should be experiencing violence. Let’s react, respond, respect each other and be responsible. This initiative is the start of great things to come for the women of Khutala and I am proud to be a part of this revolution. I am excited to see where this will go, within Khutala as well as the outside world.” 

Manager Maintenance, Surface and Opencast, Pobane Makgolane said, “As a father of a daughter, I feel for all our women. The increasing rate of GBV cases in South Africa is saddening and as the men of Khutala, we give the women our absolute support.”  

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared GBV a national crisis and presented a R1.6 billion emergency response action plan to address GBV and femicide to parliament in September 2019. In June, he stated that there had been a ‘surge’ in murders and violence against women and children and that the South African Police Service had reported an increase in violent crime since the country entered into coronavirus level 3 at the start of June 2020.