By Published On: 29th October 2021

Cape Town – Friday, 29 October 2021 – For the upcoming South African local government election of 1st November 2021, women peacemakers across three cities Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg have set up three Women’s Peace Rooms to observe and provide extra conflict prevention capacity as well as to be available to women to report instances of violence during elections.

Why do we need Women’s Peace Rooms? South Africa experiences high levels of gender based violence. According to the UNDP Programming Guide for Preventing Violence Against Women in Elections (2018) “women face myriad challenges when they are exercising their political rights, the most alarming of which is perceived increase in violence against women in politics, including violence against women in elections. Gender based violence in politics and elections in increasingly visible, ranging from the escalation of harassment, intimidation, sexual and physical violence, against women in public life and gender biased scrutiny by the public and the media, to forced resignations and assassinations of women politicians in the most extreme cases.”

Further, the elections are taking place against the backdrop of the recent unrest which took place primarily in Gauteng and Kwa Zulu Natal in July 2021, and that this unrest was fuelled by political factionalism, criminality, poverty and inequality and took the lives of 337 people.

A range of civil society organisations have come together to support building extra capacity of women to contribute to peaceful elections. They include: The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR); South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID); Women International Peace Centre (WIPC); African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes(ACCORD,) Gertrude Shope Women’s Mediation Network (GSWMN), Lady of Peace Community Foundation (LOPECO), Electoral Institute of South Africa (EISA) and Genderlinks (GL).

The SA Women’s Election Mechanism for Peace (WEMP) that has set up the three Women’s Peace rooms, exists to do the following:

  • Conduct women’s advocacy for peace during the elections;
  • Train and utilise existing skills among women, in election related conflict prevention;
  • Enable women to observe and respond to potential conflict in a co-ordinated way;
  • Provide analysis of the gender dimensions of the elections;
  • Support women election candidates who are threatened with violence across all political parties
  • Contribute to the development of a peace infrastructure in Southern Africa.

Attached to every peace room are peace envoys, peace advocates and peace messengers, the latter being crucial to observing and documenting incidents. Utilising a mobile app that has   been devised specifically for the peace rooms, a toll free line that has been set up, and an on the ground presence at voting stations, the women’s peace rooms are a welcomed addition.

It is hoped that the model of women peace rooms will contribute locally and internationally to enhancing the architecture for peace on the continent that will see women’s capacity in peace-making and peacebuilding more extensively used for the benefit of society.

Members of the media who wish to have briefings from the peace rooms are encouraged to get in contact with the respective peace envoys for the provinces using the contacts below. The peace envoys will also be available to join media interviews virtually or telephonically. We would also like to encourage members of the media to meet the women involved in this.

For further information, contact:

Prof Cheryl Hendricks – Nationally – 0827704729

Alison Lazarus – 0729472193

Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

105 Hatfield Street

Cape Town


Nadeem Edwards



2 Golf Course Drive

Mount Edge combe


Corlette Letlojane


South African Council of Churches

62 Marshall St, Marshalltown, Johannesburg,


TOLL FREE LINE: 072 957 9247





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