CentralSALaunch of 16 days of activism in FS postponed
─── OLEBOGENG MOTSE 13:40 Thu, 25 Nov 2021
The launch of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) by Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, and Social Development MEC, Mamiki Qabathe, in Bloemfontein has been postponed.
The provincial government is yet to announce an alternative date for the event which was meant to take place on Friday, 26 November at Ilanga Estate outside Bloemfontein. Officially however the global 16 days of activism against GBV kicks off today and will wrap up on 10 December. Not only is the signing off of the adopted GBV bills by President Cyril Ramaphosa under the spotlight in South Africa, but so is the issue of additional funding for shelters that are meant to help protect vulnerable women and children.
The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, Domestic Violence Amendment Bill and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill, have been deemed as a big part of the answer to the scourge of violence against women and children. Whilst the latter two bills were adopted by the National Council of Provinces in September, grassroot organisations in South Africa are of the view that the government is still not coming to the table on the issue of GBV, especially with respect to funding for shelters.
The National Shelter Movement of South Africa’s (NSMSA’s), Sarah Lekale, previously told OFM News that shelters often house vulnerable women and children who are being abused, yet not only are the existing ones underfunded, but there are also not enough shelters in the country. The indaba was meant to be a platform where members of these organisations can engage with the government on their issues. At present, the National Shelter Movement of South Africa encompasses 100 shelters in the country.
A 2018 report on the cost of shelters, released by the Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa (Hlanganisa), revealed that not only is there a shortage of shelters generally, there appears to be a lack of shelters that cater to victims of gender-based violence and femicide in particular. According to Hlanganisa, it is not known how many shelters exist in the country, due to the Department of Social Development’s broad classifications. Figures in the Department of Social Development’s The 2016 Review of the White Paper for Social Welfare, which used 1% of poor women aged 18 to 59 years who are either married or cohabiting as the proxy for need, indicated that the problem is much bigger than we imagine. Central South Africa was not exempt from this trend, the North West, Free State and Northern Cape had space for only 7%, 5% and 4% of domestic violence victims respectively.