On the 25th of August 2020, we celebrate the 6th anniversary of the release of the
recommendations of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry. In commemoration of this
date, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) aims to have a series of events to address
and draw attention to the systemic failures addressed in the Khayelitsha Commission of
Inquiry. The events will include sessions that cover the law and legislation on Gender-
based violence, political education on gendered systems of oppression, panels,
psychosocial support and self-care and an exhibition detailing the experiences of
gendered violence in Khayelitsha as a result of the systemic failures of the state.
Exactly a year ago, South Africa was a country in protest. Different provinces across
the country were abuzz with protests, calling for the end of the violence directed at
women. They challenged how things can continue as normal when the femicide rate in
South Africa is five times higher than the global rate. Today, a year later, there has not
been a significant change in women’s experiences of sexual, domestic and gendered
violence in South Africa.
The 2019/2020 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS)
reports that in the period between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, 2695 women and
943 children have been murdered in South Africa. In the greater Khayelitsha area, 474
people have been murdered in the last year. These systemic failures include the failure
of the police and other criminal justice actors to police, investigate and convict
perpetrators of violence within our communities. This, alongside toxic masculinity and
the failures of the state to provide basic services such as public lighting, accessible
and dignified sanitation and a responsive and effective police service all speak to the
interconnected ways systemic failures cultivate impunity toward gender-based
violence and femicide.
This program not only aims to call on those in power to implement the
recommendations and to do better by the people who live in Khayelitsha, especially
black women in South Africa, but to open a dialogue and discussion on the systems of
oppression that shape our lived experiences. The series of events will start with an
opening by the SJC in Makhaza, Khayelitsha on the 25th August on a piece of land
where a police station was meant to be built almost 20 years ago.