Press Release

A call has been made for all hands on deck to end Gender Based Violence (GBV), which has been described as is an endemic, multi-dimensional phenomenon with devastating effects on women, men, boys and girls in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Ms Habiba Roswana Osman, the Chief Executive Officer of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (HRC) made the call when she delivered a keynote address at a consultative meeting convened by the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF). The virtual meeting sought to allow Human Rights Commissioners and Ombudspersons to consider a draft of a SADC Model Law on GBV being developed by the Forum in collaboration with other partners.

She said GBV continued to pose a threat to human security, peace and development as well as the attainment of national, regional and international development blueprints. She said GBV also results in drastic socio-economic consequences.

“It remains the most severe human rights violation in southern Africa with one in two women having experienced GBV at some point in their lives globally,” she said.

She noted that in the SADC region, some countries had higher instances of GBV than others and noted that COVID-19 had exacerbated the structural discrimination and inequalities faced by women and girls.

She said that there had been reports, also, of marital rape in some countries, while GBV had cost the government of South Africa at least 1.7 billion Rands.

“Globally, data continues to show that GBV remains a serious and pervasive problem across all sectors,” she said.

Stressing that no sector was immune to GBV, Ms Osman said the scourge was negatively affecting the Gross Domestic Product of some countries and damaging health, lives, financial independence, productivity and effectiveness.

She noted that SADC had adopted various frameworks to combat GBV in a coordinated manner. In this regard, she cited the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020) and expressed optimism that the SADC Model Law on GBV would guide Member States in the domestication, ratification and implementation of relevant international and regional guidelines and obligations that inform GBV prevention and responses.

She encouraged all stakeholders to aggressively promote the Model Law on GBV to support human rights for all and to ensure that no one was left behind.

Speaking at the same occasion, popular Judge, the Honorable Professor Oagile Key Dingake, stressed that GBV denies people their fundamental rights.

“When we talk about rights, we are speaking about non-negotiable entitlements which are not dished to us at the mercy of the state. In actual fact, the state as the duty bearer is obliged to ensure that these rights are realised. GBV implicates so many of the different rights contained in our constitutions and laws in SADC countries,” he said.

Justice Dingake presented two related papers. One focused on GBV as a human rights issue, and the other provided an overview of gaps in the GBV legislation within the SADC region.

Said the judge: “The right to life and the right to dignity constitute – in my mind – the foundational basis of all other rights. All other rights must accrue from the foundational rights: the right to life, the right to human dignity, security of the person, autonomy and self-determination. GBV is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It knows no social or economic barrier. It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of class. It is very prevalent among women and girls.” He expressed concern over the fact that in some parts of the SADC region, culture was used as an excuse or justification to oppress women and girls.

He stressed that certain cultural practices flew in the face of human rights, while certain roles assigned to women and girls restricted their options and curtailed their autonomy. The judge said GBV had many negative ripple effects on survivors. These include physical and psychological injuries.

He explained that while physical injuries were manifest, psychological injuries, which included depression and anxiety, eating disorders, stress and compulsive behaviour, were difficult to identify.

The judge expressed concern, also, over low levels of reporting GBV, as well as successful prosecution of offenders. He nevertheless expressed optimism that continuous education might socialise boys and girls in such a way that they would embrace the values of equality and human rights for a better world


Chairperson of the RWPC,Honorable  Anne-Marie Mbilambangu.
Chairperson of the RWPC,
Honorable Anne-Marie Mbilambangu.

The scourge of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) mostly affects women and the girl child in southern Africa, with its multi-dimensional effects negatively also impacting on the lives of men and boys in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.



Globally, one in two women have experienced GBV at some point in their lives, while in South Africa, reports indicated that someone was raped every 25 seconds.

It is on the back of such empirical evidence that the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC) of the SADC Parliamentary Forum tabled a motion during the 44th Plenary Assembly Session of the Forum in 2018 to develop a regional Model Law on Gender Based Violence (GBV).

The 44th Plenary Assembly unanimously adopted the motion in an attempt to remove threats to peace, security and the accomplishment of different developmental objectives.

Following the adoption of the motion, the SADC PF launched stakeholder consultations on 18 August 2021 targeting different players in the public and private sectors. They included human rights commissioners, traditional leaders, GBV survivors and different United Nations agencies, to name a few.

Speaking at the launch, the Chairperson of the RWPC, Honorable Anne-Marie Mbilambangu explained that the Model Law should be a tool used by SADC Member States to prevent and eradicate all forms of GBV.

She said that the RWPC would do everything “to improve social and economic conditions for women, because we think that they are the most affected by all forms of GBV.” 


South African community advocate  Caroline Peters.
South African community advocate
Caroline Peters.

She added: “Our objective is to do it in such a way that everyone – in particular women within the region – regardless of colour or belief, have the possibility to accomplish their full potential without any hiccups or interference by GBV.”


South African Community Advocate Caroline Peters narrated her harrowing ordeal as a GBV survivor during the consultative meeting and bemoaned the fact that ever since she experienced GBV, very little had changed in terms of statistics.

“I am a survivor of brutal gang rape and my friend was murdered at the age of 16. When this happened to me, I didn’t realise this would be the

Seasoned journalist, gender practitioner and human rights activist Ms Pamela Dube from Botswana has called on media practitioners in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to raise awareness on the impact of Gender-Based Violence in the SADC Region.



Journalist, gender practitioner and human rights activist Ms Pamela Dube.
Journalist, Ms Pamela Dube.

Dube was speaking during a virtual consultative session to familiarise the media on the SADC Model Law on Gender-Based Violence, convened by the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) on 6 August 2021.



She said the media had a strategic and important potential to contribute to the prevention and elimination of GBV in the SADC region. “I wish to call on you to raise awareness on the impact of GBV in the SADC Region. Raise awareness on the role of the Model Law on GBV in the prevention of GBV and raise awareness on the stakeholder consultation process,” she said.

She challenged the media practitioners to support the implementation process. She compared the stigma suffered by GBV survivors to what families of those affected by AIDS had experienced in the past.

“At the highest point of HIV and AIDS, there was a lot of denial around our communities until we started seeing people coming forward. Once we saw the face and people could identify with the problem, stigma could be dealt with. We are faced with the same scourge right now which is at the homes, the offices and on the streets. Until we step to the plate and be able to give face to this and be able to speak to the heart of the problem, very little can be achieved,” Dube warned.

In addition, she urged the media workers to seriously ponder the role they wished to play toward GBV eradication and pointed out that while laws could be made, it was important for media practitioners and citizens to understand them.

“Laws can be made, our leadership can rise to the occasion, but if we are not in the forefront of giving information and disseminating, then very little, if anything will be achieved,” she said.

According to Dube, the SADC region faces different challenges in relation to GBV. High on that list are inadequate national laws, inadequate national frameworks and inadequate gender-disaggregated statistics, as well as outdated laws.

“It is against this background and in response to calls from various stakeholders to meet the goal of eliminating GBV by 2030, that the SADC PF commissioned the development of a Model Law on GBV that will be used to address, prevent and combat all forms of GBV,” she explained.

She underscored that GBV impedes efforts to achieve national, regional, continental and global development goals. GBV not only has terrible effects on survivors, but it also impacts negatively on society at large with serious socio- economic consequences.

“It raises enormous public health problems which are often overlooked. Survivors and victims of GBV are at high risk of severe and long-lasting health problems such as death from injuries or suicide, poor mental health, chronic pain, deafness, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and or AIDS,” she said.

While 13 SADC countries had laws on domestic violence and 14 on sexual assault, there was still evidence of GBV being most commonly perpetrated by “husbands or intimate partners” at global and regional levels. Moreover, Dube pointed out that COVID-19 had exacerbated the situation.

Speaking during the same event, Zimbabwean journalist Joseph Munda concurred with Dube and said: “It (GBV) is a key issue that has been going on and increasing with COVID-19 and there are a lot of dynamics around it.”

He, however, lamented challenges that journalists face and called for more information around good practices and some of the laws implemented by other SADC Member States. Munda felt that if information around effective laws was shared, it would make brainstorming for possible solutions to end GBVeasier.

“These are some of the key challenges that we have. Most of us are now working virtually and getting information can prove difficult at times. As a region, the information sharing itself and the learning process is very important for us journalists to be able to gather and disseminate information,” he noted.

Munda also stressed the lack of support structures to be able to get stories done, specifically due to a limitation of resources, which in turn shifts attention toward political and other stories.

Basadi Tamplin raised issues of strengthening cyber-security due to multiple instances that have seen a correlation between GBV and cyber-crimes. “Everyone has access to the internet and we all use internet to 24/7. There are alarming rates of

  • Gamal Ibrahim - Chief of Economic Governance and Public Finance Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
  • Distinguished Prosecutors from SADC Member States Who are involved in Prosecution of Financial Crimes and Related Offences;
  • Mr Daniel Greenberg, Legal Drafter for the SADC Model Law on Public Financial Management;
  • Members of the Technical Working Group on the Model Law on Public Financial Management;
  • Ms Caroline Kwamboka, Trustee and Founding Director of African Renaissance; and Member of the Technical Working Group on the PFM Model Law;
  • SADC Citizens following proceedings on various social media platforms;
  • Members of the Media;
  • Staff of National Parliaments and SADC Parliamentary Forum
  • Distinguished


  • Introduction

Dear Colleagues and Distinguished Participants,

It is indeed a great privilege and honor for me to address a distinguished gathering of fearless advocates, comrades, experts and practitioners working in the area of Public Financial Management. I welcome you today to this consultative meeting on the Model Law on Public Financial Management (PFM) hosted under the auspices of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

As you may be aware, the Forum is accustomed to holding widespread consultations for its Model Laws under development in view of ensuring that the Model Laws are responsive to the current needs and demands of the SADC citizenry.

The Consultation today takes, place after a series of successful consultations have occurred with SADC Line Ministries, Auditors General, AML/CFT agencies, revenue authorities, police representatives and prosecutors, to cite but a few. However, it was also necessary to engage with private stakeholders which are essentially Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that are not publicly funded and hence have their own perspective on the state of the PFM framework of SADC Member States.

At this juncture, I wish to thank you for finding the time to attend today. The Forum has always held Civil Society Organisations in high regard, and furthermore valued their immense knowledge base, as well as their abundant contributions to State processes. In fact, many of you today already form part of the Forum's Partnership Framework, and we equally invite all CSOs today to collaborate with the Forum beyond the ambit of this august meeting.

  • Why engage Civil Society Organisations?

I wish to underscore that the ongoing engagement with Civil Society Organisations is necessary since you are in touch with grassroot realities and constantly evaluate national and regional policy on good governance and PFM. You relentlessly work to promote good governance and thus ensure that PFM is kept under the radar.

The Forum also recognises that you are smart players in the realm of PFM and denounce corruption, fraud and bribery on a routinely basis. You follow up on Governmental measures and actions which affect PFM. Your celerity in uncovering PFM issues which are relevant to the public is also well known. In this regard, you are known to be guardians of truth and justice. Moreover, you engage with the press and ensure that PFM is constantly kept under scrutiny of the media. You are also enablers of parliamentary democracy since you interact with Parliamentarians and feed them information for parliamentary questions, for debates in the House, or for public hearings and campaigns. The PFM landscape is thus incomplete without your diligent work and input. Your contributions as CSOs to furnish reports for country evaluations relating to democracy and governance indices for Africa are notable contributions which have ensured that the information garnered is balanced, and show the progress made as well as challenges in an unbiased and fair manner.

I would also like to salute the commendable work performed by CSOs who are involved in sensitisation campaigns on PFM. Some CSOs have conducted tremendously effective work in ensuring that communities in Africa understand the budgeting process,the basics of corruption, and the PFM processes of the State, a knowledge which would otherwise remain completely unknown and far from reach for the layman. It is trite that sensitisation campaigns on aspects of PFM which pertain to the bribery of public officials and fraud are of paramount importance if we are one day to rid the region of such malpractices that are abhorrent to good governance.

  • Expectations from the audience today

Today, we expect that as prominent CSOs of the region, you engage openly and frankly with the legal drafter and Rapporteurs on the provisions of the PFM Model law which are of interest to you. For instance, you may consider Part V on parliamentary control which provides for avenues and possibilities for MPs to engage with a number of stakeholders during Committee sittings, including CSOs. In addition, you may wish to consider the Offences section under Part 11 which deal with particular PFM offences such as maladministration and financial irregularities and discuss their appropriateness. In addition, you will equally be interested in Part IV which deal with the Appropriation of funds by Government through the budgeting process.

Section 60 relating to the SDG Budget statement and section 61 on the International Commitment statement will also assist you in holding the Government accountable on commitments taken and treaties ratified. Indeed, for the first time, the Budget document will need to be explicit about how budget lines are assisting to implement concretely the SDGs and other international commitments such as those in gender related treaties and covenants.

  • Way forward and domestication

Dear Colleagues and Distinguished Participants,

In terms of the way forward, I wish to mention that CSOs will be directly involved in the domestication process of the SADC Model Law on PFM since CSOs as private stakeholders will be entrusted with the crucial role of providing shadow reports to the Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee (RPMLOC), which is the dedicated Forum organ to monitor domestication.

In this respect, CSOs may be called upon to work together with other stakeholders such as prosecutors, AML/CFT agencies to provide shadow reports on the observance of PFM provisions contained in the Model Law. For CSOs who are interfacing for the first time with the Forum, you are kindly requested to share your coordinates and your country of origin within SADC so that we may get in touch with domestication initiatives when same are operationalised through the Oversight Committee.

  • Conclusion

Without doubt, PFM issues in Southern Africa will not be resolved in a fortnight. Consistent sensitisation and advocacy will be required by CSOs to make the SADC region become a financial hub that is effervescent with robust PFM systems in each Member State.

CSOs will surely concur that without a strong PFM framework, the prospect of good governance remains dismal. Absence of good governance will in turn lead to corruption, fraud and abusive practices. There is thus a need to elevate PFM as a stepping stone with the aim to attain a true and functioning democracy where citizens live in freedom and reap the resources of the State with fairness and merit. We have no doubt that CSOs will assist the Forum in that noble and promising endeavour for a better and more equitable Southern Africa.

On this note, I wish you a pleasant session.

Ms Boemo Sekgoma, Secretary General,

SADC Parliamentary Forum 10th March 2022




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The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of SADC It is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Thirteen (14) parliaments representing over 3500 parliamentarians in the SADC region. Read More

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