The social development department said government funding for shelters was insufficient, but it couldn’t fight the “scourge of violence alone”.
“It needs all stakeholders to make sure that every South African lives in a free and safe South Africa,” department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said on Monday.
This comes after the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) released a report on Mondayon the state of shelters in SA. It found inadequate funding was crippling the fight against gender-based violence.
Oliphant said: “The department acknowledges the challenge of inadequate funding and unit-cost disparities in various provinces as mentioned in the report.”
CGE chairperson Tamara Mathebula said at the release of the report in Johannesburg that funding for shelters was “not enough at all”.
“We are not just talking about gender-based violence. We’re talking about femicide, we’re talking about rape. We’re talking about women who will run to a shelter with multiple stab wounds that would require more medical attention and a longer stay in the shelter.”
CGE commissioner Nthabiseng Moleko added: “Women found in shelters usually stay in abusive relationships because, primarily, they are dependent on the perpetrators. They stay in these dysfunctional relationships and their lives are at risk.”
The CGE randomly sampled a government-funded, partly government-funded and independent shelter in each province and found:
- Insufficient funding;
- Late payments by the social development department to shelters;
- Poor infrastructure and security in some shelters;
- Lack of transitional housing;
- Salaries were not standardised; and
- Survivors struggled to adapt to normal life.
Mathebula said another issue exacerbating problems in shelters was that few were in city centres and some struggled to accommodate women with children. Shelters, on average, allowed residents to stay for six months.
“Most of the women were going back to the street with their children,” Mathebula said.
The report recommended that public hearings be held with the social development department to determine how resources were allocated to shelters, how the shelters functioned, how they coordinated with other shelters and how they could be standardised.
Source: TMG Digital