Taxpayers spend over R6.7 million on security at vacant GBV shelters in Gauteng

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Alexandra Abrahams MP.

As the world commemorates 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children, the ANC government flushed millions of rands down the drain on security, cleaning and gardening at five vacant shelters meant for gender-based violence victims.

Between December 2019 and March 2020 the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, handed over 12 buildings to the Provincial Department of Social Development in Gauteng and the Western Cape for the purpose of Gender- Based Violence (GBV) shelters. Currently only the shelters handed over to the Western Cape are operational.

In a parliamentary reply Minister Patricia De Lille confirmed R6 788 485,14 has already been spent on security at the Gauteng premises for the two years the premises have been vacant, with a projected expense of R3.6 million, at R60 000 per month per house, for a further 12 months.

To date, the Department of Public Works have spent a total of R1 931 029,34 in taxpayer funds over a period of six months on refurbishments of the Gauteng premises with a projected further expense of R180 000 for continued cleaning and gardening’ services at the five premises over the next 12 months.

In total, these five vacant premises meant for GBV victims will cost taxpayers R12 499 514,48.

Minister De Lille has also refused to provide the DA with the correct addresses to two of the premises which were handed over citing that they are safe houses and addresses cannot be provided to ensure the safety of occupants. Who is the Minister protecting, if these premises are said to be vacant or is the Minister barring members of parliament from conducting oversight?

On the 1st of November 2022 the Democratic Alliance wrote to Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, to urgently intervene in the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s inability to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will see these shelters operational. Minister Lindiwe Zulu has yet to reply or even acknowledge receipt of the letter.

The Western Cape Government did not waste taxpayers’ money – this is the DA difference!

The expense of these vacant shelters is not only measured in monetary value. Vulnerable groups such as women, children and the LGBTQIA+ community who are too often victims of violent abuse should be able to seek refuge at these shelters, but instead the ANC government continues to fail them.

The Democratic Alliance will now write to Minister Patricia De Lille to request the addresses of the two shelters be sent directly to myself in order to conduct oversight as well as write to the Chairperson of the Social Development Committee, Honourable Nonkosi Mvana, to summon the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Hon. Mbali Hlophe, together with Minister Lindiwe Zulu to account for the wastage of taxpayers’ money and explain their plan to urgently open these GBV shelters.