South Africa: State Management of Shelters 'Is in Shambles'


'Systemic fault lines' appeared to be the theme for the Commission for Gender Equality's public investigative hearings last week, as it became clear that state departments need to radically increase their efforts to support shelters for women and children in SA.

During the course of the public investigative hearings (PIH) into the status of shelters in South Africa, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) identified that deeply embedded systemic and structural fissures in the state are undermining the ability of its departments to assist shelters and ultimately women and children who are victims of abuse.

"The CGE is not saying that shelters are in shambles. It is the structural and systemic management of shelters by the state that is in shambles," said Jennifer Smout, one of the commissioners who led the hearings that took place between 2 and 6 December.

Various government departments were called to appear at the PIH to present reports detailing the steps they have taken to improve and assist shelters to become better equipped for survivors of violence.

At the forefront of the hearings was the national Department of Social Development (DSD) as the department supposedly leading this marathon.

"It was clear from [day one] that...

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