Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- For the fifth time in its eight years as a democracy, South Africa on Monday took part in the global campaign to combat the scourge of women and child abuse.
Thousands of men took to the streets around the country to protest against the recent spate of violence against women and children.
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children started at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where thousands of people converged to pledge their support for the campaign.
"The time has come for communities to speak out and assert their right to safety and security," said Gauteng Safety and Liaison Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.
She said prevention of crimes against women and children is a top priority for the Gauteng government but many of the offences remain hidden, hindering progress in correcting the situation.
"We need to break this culture of silence so that police can make sure the culprits are apprehended and uprooted from society.
Parents are the most important role players in the well-being of their children.
Any intervention aiming to help children should start at home," she said.
The provincial government has called on all non-governmental organisations, churches, media, community-based organisations and civil society in Gauteng to join hands with government to stop all crimes against women and children.
In Cape Town Anglican Archbishop Njonkulu Ndungane led hundreds of men in a march against abuse.
Pledging its support for the 16-day campaign, the New National Party (NNP) urged the government to reinstate the death penalty for all convicted rapists.
"Child abuse is reaching astronomical proportions," NNP spokesman Adriaan van Jaarsveld said.
"There must be zero tolerance against these criminals.
We should demand that government declare child and women abuse a national emergency which will have to come into effect through allocating more money to the right police departments.