25 June 2019

South Africa: Department Welcomes Report On Shelters

The Department of Social Development has welcomed the results contained in the Commission for Gender Equality's (CGE) investigative report on the State of Shelters in South Africa.

In a statement issued on Monday, the department acknowledged the challenge of inadequate funding and unit-cost disparities in various provinces as mentioned in the report.

The report from the CGE highlights that the Department of Social Development cooperated during the investigation by providing all requested documentation and will continue working with the CGE to make sure that all survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) are protected.

"In our quest to ensure that the DSD's Constitutional mandate is fulfilled, the department is prioritising the framework and implementation guidelines to assist all provinces to implement the policy in a similar way - including realistic and undeviating unit costs within the budget allocated by Treasury," the department said in the statement.

The prioritisation framework aims to assist provinces across the board to reprioritise identified programmes which will be funded in a uniform manner.

"Currently, the department, working with National Treasury is finalising its reprioritisation and GBV has been identified as one of the programmes that should be tested to ensure that all provinces fund GBV programmes. Testing will take place from July 2019 and will continue for a period of 12 months," the department said.

The department has also developed a Victim Support Services Bill which will be processed to Cabinet during this financial year. The Bill, among other elements, is expected to address the regulation of the provision of sheltering.

"This will assist the department and institutions with enforcing the existing minimum norms and standards and the uniform implementation of programmes which are accredited. The funding of institutions will also be linked to the compliance norms and standards by all provinces," read the statement.

The department said it believes that the Bill will assist in improving sheltering conditions in the country, in turn ensuring the protection of survivors of violence.

"The Department of Social Development has always maintained that it cannot 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."

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