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One day before the start of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, a parliamentary question has revealed that the ANC government has fallen short in providing safe havens for victims of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).
A written reply by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, to a DA parliamentary question revealed that the Western Cape is the only province that that has established shelters for victims of GBVF following the provision of numerous facilities by the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.
While the Department has released several properties for these crucial shelters in all the provinces, only the Western Cape government has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the six properties in the province has been prepared to provide safe spaces for victims of GBV.
The other provinces haven’t gotten further than conducting site verifications and preparing costing to open the prospective shelters in the 2022/23 financial year.
This is particularly shocking given the wide-spread and growing problem of GBVF in the country. In fact, the Gauteng Social Development MEC, Morakane Mosupyoe, revealed that last year “more than 120 000 cases of GBV were recorded by the government-run GBV command centre in the first three weeks of the national lockdown”.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of GBVF in the world, and the situation continues to deteriorate.
In 2016, the World Health Organization published internationally comparable numbers that showed South Africa’s murder rate at 12.5 per 100 000 women and girls. This places the country at the fourth-worst position out of 183 countries, and GBVF have grown significantly since then.
The 2nd quarter crime statistics revealed that 9 556 people were raped between July and September this year. That is almost 104 people per day, and only reflects those who actually reported their rapes. This statistic does not include the more than 2 400 other sexual offences reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
In the same period, nearly 73 000 assault cases were reported of which 13 876 were domestic violence-related. The rate of child murders has climbed by almost a third to 287 children killed, compared to the previous reporting period.
It is time the ANC government took the war against GBVF seriously. South Africa’s women, children and other vulnerable communities are drowning in violence and empty promises. How many more times will President Cyril Ramaphosa promise to rid the country of this scourge without forcing his government to actually take action?
This 16 days of activism cannot be another round of hot air and empty promises from the national government. South Africa’s second pandemic of GBVF requires action to address this cancer, and the ANC government must respond with the same vigour and robustness they initially promised with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Issued by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP