The Committee was briefed by the Department of Social Development on the implementation of Executive undertakings to combat gender-based violence given by the President in the National Council of Provinces. In introductory remarks, the Minister of Social Development expressed her concern about a growing rate of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). She said there was a need for interventions to bring change.
Members raised various concerns: Intervention centres needed to reach rural areas and should not only be concentrated in urban areas; there needed to be monitoring and training of GBVF ambassadors, and local government needed to be involved and so on.
The Department responded that it was addressing their concerns.
The Committee met to be briefed by the Department of Social Development on progress made in implementing undertakings made by the President during a plenary of the National Council of Provinces on 27 October 2020.
Input by the Minister of Social Development
The Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, made opening remarks. She said crimes against women were increasing. This was a result of patriarchy, toxic masculinity and male chauvinism. Gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) was increasing and it was nothing less than genocide. The actions of perpetrators led to killing, anxiety and psycho-social problems. This needed to be addressed as it affected efforts to build up the South African nation. Change needed to occur to protect people’s mothers, sisters, wives and all females in general. There were countless victims and justice and change needed to happen. Support and healing needed to be facilitated and programmes needed to be set in place for this.
Briefing by the Department of Social Development
The Committee received a presentation on the Department of Social Development’s programmes to combat GBV and the challenges it faced.
It was also briefed on the progress being made in identifying buildings that could be converted into shelters and facilitating the establishment of Khuseleka one-stop centres in provinces.
See attached for further details.
Mr S Zandamela (EFF, Mpumalanga) said that he was worried about GBVF in the Bushbuckridge region. Was the Department considering more centres to cover more of the province? What form of monitoring was in place to see if people were doing what they were assigned to do? Was there any training for GBVF ambassadors?
Mr E Mthethwa (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) said that there was a lot of duplication in GBVF programmes. There was a lack of facilities at the SA Police Service (SAPS) centres. Could the Committee get more information on whether there was a consolidated programme?
Mr I Sileku (DA, Western Cape) asked how the Department would mitigate challenges where buildings had been hijacked. What criteria were considered in developing centres? Rural areas should not be left behind. How would these centres be made sustainable? How involved was local government with these centres?
Ms E Nkosi (ANC, Mpumalanga) said that centres needed to be spread out and reach rural areas. What was the timeframe of the task team?
Ms C Visser (DA, North West) said that there needed to be better investigation of the brutal assaults that were occurring. What could the Department and SAPS do to address these issues? The media needed to be involved to alert the public to what was going on.
The Chairperson said that the Minister had had to leave the meeting to attend to an emergency.
He said that there needed to be a balance between urban and rural areas in intervening and addressing issues of GBVF.
Mr Linton Mchunu, Acting Director-General, Department of Social Development (DSD), said that the Department would pay more attention to ensuring that interventions and centres would be spread out to include urban and rural communities.
Ms Siviwe Kakaza said that shelters were moved to areas where they were most needed, for example, border areas with a high human trafficking rate. GBVF ambassadors had been provided with training and they were monitored. There were engagements with ambassadors to ensure that they are prepared to do the tasks assigned to them.
There were engagements with senior SAPS members about the provision of psycho-social services. Formal processes were being developed. The issue of GBVF was an inter-sectoral matter. SAPS conducted the investigations and the National Prosecuting Authority ensured a successful prosecution. The Department provided victim impact reports and assessments. SAPS were training their members on how to address GBVF situations delicately.
The task team had been approved and the timelines were between 1 April to 1 March 2023. The timelines could be provided to the Members.
Mr Mchunu said that local government would be included in the planning processes. Discussions were being held with the National Treasury about increasing funding and improving shelters. Sustainability was being discussed. Awareness programmes in the media were having a positive impact. Many people were coming forward and talking about their experiences. An amount of R100 million was given to NGOs in the previous year to assist in the campaign against GBVF.
The Chairperson said that some objectives were not achieved due to lack of funding. Better planning and budgeting would bring better results. Progress reports should be given to the Committee so that it could monitor the programmes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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