Government is not serious about ending Gender Based Violence

Despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pronouncements in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) just two weeks ago, there is no evidence in the budget delivered by Minister Tito Mboweni on 20 February 2019 that government is serious about ending Gender Based Violence in this country.

In the SONA, President Ramaphosa promised that government would be “strengthening the functioning of various specialised units such as the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units and improving our administrative and record keeping capacity at all levels.”

The budget presented by Minister Mboweni does not indicate where government intends to reallocate the money for these functions. It appears that President Ramaphosa was merely paying lip service to the eradication of Gender Based Violence and Femicide with no political will to follow through.

The President announced in the SONA that the South Africa Police Services had embarked on a restructuring process to shift more policing resources to the local level. We question the veracity of this statement when the Minister of Finance announced that: “Over the medium term, R853 million is shifted from the South African Police Service to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, which will now be responsible for the Integrated Justice System Modernisation Programme, a key component of the integrated strategy to fight crime.”

As women impacted by the scale of the violence directed against us, we believed the President when he said that government had “listened to the call to make funds available to combat gender-based violence, and have allocated funding in the current budget to support the decisions taken at the Summit.” There is no evidence of this in this current budget.

We note that there has been a R150 million increase to VIP protection services from R2.94 billion to R3.14 billion. In order to demonstrate government’s commitment to the protection of women, we contend that this money should be reallocated to achieve the resolutions taken at the Gender Based Violence and Femicide Summit.

Paramount is the Interim Structure that will develop the National Strategic Plan for GBV. It is imperative that this structure and the plan are put in put in place, and that adequate budget is allocated for its implementation with timelines for delivery.

If this country is ever going to end Gender Based Violence, the state needs to put money behind prevention programmes. We therefore welcome the increase of funds directed at substance abuse programmes but we remind the President that he made a promise to us that he would make funds available to expand and fund places of support such as the Thuthuzela Care Centres and Khuseleka Care Centres.

We demand that he keeps his word.

Ends

For comment contact:

Mandisa Khanyile                                     Nontsikelelo Mpulo

Rise Up against gender based violence     SECTION27

073 506 2143                                          082 782 7143

Civil Society Organisations who endorse this statement:

ActionAid South Africa

African Diaspora Forum Women’s League

Black Womxn Caucus

Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)

The Curriculum Development Project Trust

Foundation for Human Rights

Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa (HIDSA)

Lawyers against Abuse (LvA)

LifeLine

One in Nine Campaign

Rise Up against gender based violence

SECTION27

Shukumisa Coalition

Sonke Gender Justice

Soul City

The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU)

The Teddy Bear Foundation

The Total Shutdown

Tosunga Baninga

Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre

Women Leadership Social Empowerment