The DA notes the Commission for Gender Equality’s (CGE) damning report that more than 60% of government’s targets in its Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP) to deal with gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) has not been reached.
The fact that out of 81 targets, only 17 were met and 12 partially achieved, leaving 51 (63.75%) targets unmet is shameful. The DA raised questions regarding the effectiveness of ERAP when it was first presented in 2019, as well as in subsequent committee meetings with the Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the Deputy Director-General (DG) Shoki Tshabalala, who leads the Department’s response to GBVF.
The fact is, government does not have strong structures, processes and systems in place to ensure monitoring and evaluation, oversight, consequence management, or accountability.
The DA is concluding our national oversight tour to Thuthuzela Care Centres and can confirm that the experience of those fighting the scourge of GBVF in our communities reflect government’s absence highlighted by the CGE report. Although the care centres try their utmost, they struggle with resources and capacitation of specialist staff, thereby perpetuating the suffering of GBV victims.
We will write to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee of women, youth and persons with disabilities, Nonhlanhla Ndaba, to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the CGE report, as well as write to the Minister for an explanation of her Department’s dismal failure to implement ERAP targets.
The DA will also submit parliamentary questions to National Treasury regarding ERAP’s R1.6 billion budget and how it has been spent.
Government’s failure to brief key Departments involved and to appoint project leaders within each Department and the fact that there was no monitoring or evaluation plan, meant the ERAP was destined to fail.
It is reprehensible that the CGE struggled to get necessary information from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and key departments in conducting its report. SAPS continues to be the weakest link in the fight against GBVF.
SAPS have failed to meet vital targets, including:
- Reducing the backlog for GBV-related forensic cases;
- Prioritising complaints related to GBV so they are dealt with within 7 days;
- Finalising 80% of domestic violence related cases within 3 days; and
- Conducting training on the guidelines of management of survivors of sexual violence at all police stations.
SAPS have partially met its target to ensure that backlogged cases are prioritised, but it must do better.
The massive scale of failure of government to implement ERAP targets prove that it is simply paying lip service to fighting the GBVF pandemic. Like most government promises, they will forever remain a testament to the ANC government’s only lasting legacy – a wasteland of weak political will to better the lives of those it’s meant to serve. It is no wonder that GBVF continues to thrive in South Africa.
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