By Mbali Sibiya
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has criticised the phenomenon of blessers, older men who entice young women with financial rewards.
Launching a national campaign against women and child abuse, Ramaphosa said blessers were fuelling an increase in HIV infections among young women.
“As we are making progress in reducing the incidents of HIV in our land, there is another frightening process that’s under way: an increase of HIV among young girls aged 14 to 25. And that is increasing at an alarming rate of about 200 every week.
“This is happening in that age group because these are young women who are some of the most vulnerable in our societies and are contracting from blessers, from older men. Because older men are the ones who entice them with smart phones, fancy shoes, money and everything else. They entice them and then give [them HIV]. ”
Ramaphosa launched the campaign at the Rhema Bible Church in Johannesburg on Sunday morning.
He said it was time to get to the root cause of violence against women and girls.
“Gender-based violence, in the end, is not caused by a virus. It’s not a disease that’s transmitted through coughing or physical contact. It has spread in the same way that attitudes and modes of behaviour are transmitted. There should be no man in our land who should ever believe that because of their being, their existence and manhood, they should have dominion over any woman in our country,” he said.