MANY WOMEN living in mining communities, far from home and without money of their own, are trapped in abusive relationships.
An eight-room shelter in Rustenburg in the North West is giving victims of gender-based violence (GBV) the support they need to leave abusive relationships.
The facility was opened by Kitso-Ke-Lesedi, a community-based, social development organisation that was responding to the increase in cases of GVB in the area, which is home to a large number of mines.
Tau Motlhaping, Kitso-Ke-Lesedi Director and Project Manager, says many people in Rustenburg’s ‘platinum belt’ have come to the city to search for jobs in the mines. Often, their wives or partners come with them and once there, are isolated from their family and friends and are financially dependent on their partners.
This makes it difficult for them to leave an abusive relationship and they find themselves trapped, says the organisation.
“This has been a trend we have noticed with the majority of the victims. They come from the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Sadly, some tolerate the abuse for too long because they are dependent on their abusers for survival. Our facility accommodates them while we make arrangements to take them back to their homes… those who want to,” he says.
Motlhaping says that their focus is now on empowerment programmes, after they realised that most women suffered from GBV because of financial dependence.
The great need for a place of safety in the area is evident in the high number of women helped by Kitso-Ke-Lesedi – in the third quarter of 2022, more than 100 women were assisted.
Kitso-Ke-Lesedi, which has a staff complement of 47 and operates from the Lethabong Police Station, offers these women both safe accommodation and counselling. It works closely with the South African Police Service.
The organisation was one of the 110 high-impact, non-profit community-based organisations that received funding from the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Response Fund.
The R128 million fund was launched in 2021 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, along with the International Women’s Forum of South Africa and social partners. The money was raised through pledges made by various private companies.
Motlhaping says while they have been in existence since 2007, the R250 000 they received from the fund will help them expand their reach and assist more victims.
Lindi Dlamini, CEO of the GBVF Response Fund, said in a statement that it is heartening to know there are community-based organisations in our communities that are actively helping to reunite survivors of GBV with their loved ones.
You can contact the Director and Founder Tau Motlhaping on WhatsApp 060 750 1322 or Call 073 751 8230