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South Africa promises crackdown on violence against women as murders and rapes spiral

Women are demanding change in South Africa and starting to see results.

In a country with one of the highest murder rates for women in the world, women have been taking to the streets and shouting "enough is enough".

There have been demonstrations all over the country following several high profile murders last month, including a Cape Town University student, Uyinene Mrwetyana.

The South African president has called on emergency parliamentary session to debate the epidemic of gender-based violence and femicide across the country. Credit: PA

On Wednesday the President took notice of the public uprising and promised to invest money and resources to end what he called the war against women.

Every day, eight women are murdered here. Many more are raped.

One day last year Tse Tse Sithole's daughter became one of them. Raped and murdered on her way home from a night out.

Women across South Africa protested after the death of Uyinene Mrwetyana. Credit: AP
84
The number of women raped every day in South Africa
36,597
Sexual offences against women reported in the year to March

This mother had to fight to get the police to investigate her daughter's disappearance and then fight again to make them investigate her murder when the body was found. The lack of interest, she says, is typical.

"Women's lives her are cheap," she tells me. The suspect is still at large.

It's cases like this that have made women take to the streets - they are all too commonplace.

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses South African parliament.

The grassroots movement of women wants a better deal. New activists are emerging and demanding air time and action.

They're calling for improved policing and better treatment in the courts as well as action on the gender pay gap and a levy on business to improve women's lives.

Women here are often economically dependent and vulnerable... which makes this national grassroots uprising even more surprising. Men have been noticeably absent from the demos.

Phindi Ncube is a survivor of rape who is joining the campaign against violence against women.

On Wednesday the President asked men to join the calls for change.

For decades, thousands of women have been killed here - their murders mostly unsolved and unreported.

But women are demanding change in South Africa to end the violence and discrimination and the President has promised that change will come.