Wed. Jul 24th, 2019

Government asks for help funding shelters after CGE report

The report cited a lack of infrastructure, security, and late payments from government as the main reasons behind the poor state of homeless shelters.

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The Department of Social Development was forced to admit funding for homeless shelters is insufficient after a report by the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) found the state of them is crippling their fight against gender-based violence.

Underfunded shelters

For the report, the CGE conducted random searches of shelters around the country. Including government-funded, partly government-funded, and privately-funded. They found:

  • A lack of adequate funding from government
  • Late payments by the department to shelters
  • A lack of infrastructure and security
  • A lack of transitional housing
  • A lack of compliance with policies and standardised practices

This creates an unsafe environment for the most vulnerable people in South Africa and is hampering efforts to combat gender-based violence, according to CGE acting chairperson Tamara Mathebula.

“We are not just talking about gender-based violence. We’re talking about femicide, we’re talking about rape,” she said.

“We’re talking about women who will run to a shelter with multiple stab wounds that would require more medical attention and a longer stay in the shelter.”

Government calls for aid

In response, the department of social development admitted there was not enough money to adequately support government-funded shelters and asked for additional help from the private sector.

“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,” department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said in a statement.

“The department acknowledges the challenge of inadequate funding and unit-cost disparities in various provinces as mentioned in the report.”

Received complaints

The CGE began looking into the matter after they received numerous complaints from victims of gender-based violence by people who were staying in shelters.

“Complainants in this regard complained about lack of counselling at the shelters, secondary victimization, and abuse as well as the general conditions of the facilities,” the report read.

“This further compelled the Commission to look into the state of shelters with reference to issues of human interest – in other words, with the view that some residents of these shelters remain unsatisfied with the state of affairs.”

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