Karen Kock, MPL
DA Northern Cape – Provincial Spokesperson for Health
The Democratic Alliance is shocked by the death of a 10-month old baby girl who was allegedly beaten to death by her father. This is very upsetting indeed and, whilst it is but a singular event, we believe that in many ways, it epitomizes the critical state of families in the Northern Cape.
When we read of this unthinkable tragedy, we also read of poverty, the recurring cycle of domestic violence, child abuse, emotional and physical brutality, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and the domino effect of all these social ills on the extended family. Whilst some of these activities are criminal, it is extremely difficult to police them within the arena of private homes. It is also true that everybody needs to work together to solve this complex set off problems but, as we pay the MEC of Social Services more than R1 million a year, surely he should champion and take ownership of the state our families are in.
The Northern Cape Department of Social Development’s current way of addressing this complex set of problems, mainly via prevention campaigns, is not working. At the same time, the funding model of the department serves to heighten the shortage of professional skills in the NGO sector.
What is required, is for the department to link poverty alleviation with a clear economic strategy at a local level. At the same time, we need more safe houses and a rehabilitation centre in this province. The department also needs to change its funding model to attract more social workers to the NGO sector. This is important because unless the department drastically changes its approach towards family preservation, we will continue to see the occurrence of similar events.