Violence against women still not a provincial priority

Karen de Kock, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Spokesperson of Social Development

It was with much sadness that the Democratic Alliance learnt of the alleged abuse and consequent death of Bettie Thenza in Kimberley over the weekend. This is yet another tragic case in what has become an epidemic in our province.

Intimate femicide, or rather the murder of women by their intimate partners, is the leading cause of female homicide in South Africa, however, the matter of violence against women receives the butt-end of provincial government’s attention.

In the Northern Cape, the much anticipated anti-rape strategy has yet to be implemented. According to last year’s annual report, the Department of Social Services is only funding five institutions, that specifically focus on domestic violence, to the tune of approximately R670 000. This indirectly means that none of these institutions can employ professional staff such as social workers, psychologists or lawyers.

Today the DA supported a community protest against violence against women in Campbell. Monica Bloukop was brutally raped and murdered earlier this month. The march was highly successful, with more than 100 hundred people participating. The community intends handing over a petition to the legislature. Until provincial government starts to take this matter seriously it is imperative that communities drive the issues via platforms that are available to them.

The DA has for some time now repeatedly said that whilst awareness campaigns play a role, they cannot constitute the main means by which this complicated issue is addressed. Campaigns are costly and have limited impact. Campaigns are supposed to be an add-on to concrete measurable projects which speak to causes rehabilitation and support.

If the DA were to govern in this province we would:

1. Make violence against women and children a main priority;

2. Petition National government on the issues related to violence against women and children that cannot be addressed provincially.

3. Situate this responsibility within the Department of Social Services because when responsibility is dispersed no one takes it.

4. Immediately change the funding model of the department of social services in order to better fund formal NGOs and attract more social workers to the province.

5. Acquire baseline information on domestic violence in order to measure the impact of projects.

6. Implement the anti-rape strategy.

7. Construct a proper rehabilitation centre in this province.

8. Ensure secure environments by means of keeping bushy areas at bay, erecting sufficient lighting and demolishing derelict buildings that serve as hotspots for crimes against women.

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