Pretoria – Government has signed off 12 properties in Gauteng and the Western Cape to be used as shelters for victims of gender-based violence, according to Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.
The minister announced this during a debate on gender-based violence (GBV) at the National Assembly’s hybrid sitting on Tuesday afternoon.
“I have signed an allocation of 12 properties in Gauteng and in the Western Cape for use as shelters for GBV victims, with more properties in other provinces to follow. The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has also recruited 319 workers so far across the 44 districts for municipalities to engage our communities on gender-based violence,” she said.
She added that she would soon meet all Social Development MECs in all provinces to impress on them the urgency of the need for collaboration to make this work, and have the properties used for shelters for abused women and children.
Incidents of gender-based violence and femicide have sent shock waves through the nation during the current Covid – 19 lockdown.
They include the murder of Tshegofatso Pule, whose lifeless body was found hanging on a tree in Durban Deep, Roodepoort last month. The man accused of her murder, Muzikayise Malephane, 31, has appeared in court.
De Lille said gender-based violence is a disease that infects the whole of society; and requires societal response.
“We need to get back to the beginning to establish a new value proposition, new societal norms; and the project begins in our homes, in our communities. We are blunting a boy’s emotions and raising them to believe that gender-based violence is how strong men express their power. We are training them to be soldiers, to wage war against our women; and in doing so we are perpetuating an ancient patriarchal framework that must change,” she said.
De Lille added that parents and guardians must lay the foundation for children to know, before they go to school, that discrimination, whether it is based on race, gender, culture or any other factor, is unacceptable.
“In South Africa, when another victim of femicide is on our TV screens; there is competition on who can make the most dramatic speeches. We must learn to make sure that we include gender equality in our school syllabus and every one of us has a responsibility to contribute to end this disease,” she said.