The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) recently handed over another shelter for gender-based violence (GBV) in the Free State, as government intensifies its efforts to curb the scourge.
DPWI Minister Patricia de Lille handed over the Koffiefontein building to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
“[This] property is now the latest to be refurbished and handed over from DPWI to the Provincial Department of Social Development for GBV victims. Last year, the Free State Department of Social Development stated that there is a shortage of shelters for victims of GBV in the province and this is the case in many other provinces,” the Minister said.
During the joint sitting in the National Assembly regarding GBVF in September 2019, De Lille committed that the DPWI would allocate unoccupied State-owned properties for service delivery purpose, especially to provide shelter to victims of GBV.
The initiative was in response to the country’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.
At the time, De Lille also committed that the DPWI would use state-owned properties to install anti-GBV messaging as a campaign to show government’s solidarity with communities and families who have been affected by the scourge.
Since December 2019, the department has handed over five properties in Gauteng to the Department of Social Development. In March 2020, the DPWI handed six to the Western Cape Department of Social Development for use as shelters for victims of GBV.
She said the DPWI has also completed the refurbishment of another property in Phalaborwa in Limpopo to be handed over to the provincial Department of Social Development there.
“We will now continue refurbishments on more than 20 other properties in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape, Limpopo and KZN in the next financial year to be handed over to provincial departments of social development to operationalise GBV shelters,” the Minister says.
She said both departments are working together to ensure that there is a shelter in all the identified hotspots, and in each municipality and metro in the country.
“As DPWI we are working hard to do our part and contribute to the fight against GBVF by providing safe spaces for women and children who need somewhere to live to escape abuse,” she said.
“DPWI is also making good progress with installing anti-GBVF billboards at police stations in hot spot areas across the country with 20 billboards installed in seven provinces,” she added.
In this regard, the Department recently installed billboards at Bloemspruit, Zamdela, Thabong and Phuthadichaba police stations in the Free State. – SAnews.gov.za