Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) has issued a statement following the deaths of two young casualties of femicide and gender-based violence (GBV) in early June. Naledi Phangindawo, 26, an entrepreneur and a mother of three children was killed while attending a cultural function in KwaNonqaba, Mossel Bay. Tshegofatso Pule, 28, was eight months pregnant when she was found stabbed and hanged from a tree in Roodepoort.

These were reported GBV cases which ended in death, and there could be many cases going unreported, the statement noted. Calling out “persistent, abhorrent acts of femicide and gender-based violence”, UPCSA General Secretary Rev Lungile Mpetsheni implored presbyteries, congregations and fellowships, to act against GBV and empower all to stand against it, especially since such violence was expected to escalate during the lockdown.

To promote the sanctity of life and espouse life-affirming theologies and practices, Rev Mpetsheni also reiterated the call for Gender Desks to be established in congregations.