South Africa: De Lille Signs Off Shelters for GBV Victims

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Patricia de Lille, says government has signed off 12 properties in Gauteng and the Western Cape to be used as shelters for victims of gender-based violence.

The Minister said this when she participated in a debate on gender-based violence in the National Assembly's hybrid sitting on Tuesday afternoon.

"As Minister of Public Works, I have signed an allocation of 12 properties in Gauteng and in the Western Cape for use as shelters for victims of gender-based violence, 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.

"[On 1 July], I will be meeting with all the MECs of Social Development in all nine provinces to impress on them the urgency of the need for collaboration to make this work and have these properties used for shelters for abused women and children," De Lille said.

Incidents of gender-based violence and femicide sent shockwaves through the nation during lockdown. These include the murder of the pregnant 28-year-old Tshegofatso Pule, whose lifeless body was found hanging on a tree in Durban Deep in Roodepoort last month. Muzikayise Malephane, 31, the man accused of her murder, has been arrested and has already appeared in court.

During the debate, De Lille said gender-based violence is a disease that infects the whole of society. She said the scourge requires a 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."

De Lille said 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 a competition of who can make the most dramatic speeches... We must learn to make sure that we include gender equality in our school syllabus and every single one of us has a responsibility to contribute to end this disease."

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