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PRE-STATE OF THENATION ADDRESS MEDIA RELEASE FEMINIST CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS CALL ON PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF FINANCE TO MAKE GOOD ON PROMISES TO

In the February SONA, President Ramaphosa said that government would be
“strengthening the functioning of various specialised units such as the Family Violence,
Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units and improving our administrative and record
keeping capacity at all levels.” He also said “we are expanding and dedicating more
funds to places of support, such as the Thuthuzela Care Centres and Khuseleka Care
Centres”.

As Civil Society Organisations supporting women impacted by the scale of the violence
directed against us, we believed the President when he said that government had
“listened to the call to make funds available to combat Gender-Based Violence, and
have allocated funding in the current budget to support the decisions taken at the
Summit.” We felt that our call had been heard and anticipated that the National Treasury
and the various mandated departments would follow through and this would be reflected
in the budget speech.
However, the budget presented by Minister Mboweni did not indicate where government
intends to reallocate the money from for these functions. It therefore appears that
President Ramaphosa was merely paying lip service to the eradication of Gender-
Based Violence and Femicide with no political will to follow through.
Violence against women in South Africa has become widespread and normalised.
South Africa’s femicide rate is almost five times the global rate. According to the World
Health Organisation, South Africa’s femicide rate was 12 per 100,000 in 2016, whereas
the global average is 2.6. In 2015/16 alone, some 275 536 applications for protection
from domestic violence were lodged with South African courts. According to official
crime statistics for 2017/18 financial year, 177 620 social contact crimes were
committed against women.
Thuthuzela Care Centres are one-stop facilities that provide support to victims of rape
and abuse. Not only did the Thuthuzela Centres not get the allocation that the President
promised, they have now also lost international donor funding and more than half are
without counselling services.
When it comes to supporting women and child victims of abuse, shelters for victims of
abuse and counselling services play an important role. Yet shelters are also
underfunded.
What does this say about how government views women in society? Whilst Treasury
has demonstrated an ability to respond rapidly to crises at State Owned Enterprises and
climate related disasters, when it comes to women, there is no sense of urgency and we
as activists are given the runaround. What type of behaviour is government endorsing
when it prioritizes corruption induced crises and makes a decision to ignore the pleas of
the women of this country? Whilst the aforementioned crises do need to be attended to,
we wish to remind cabinet that more than half of the population are women and the
extent of violence directed at us is a crisis that you can no longer ignore.
As Civil Society Organisations, we note that there will not be a special budget speech
following the installing of the new Cabinet and the delivery of the State of the Nation
Address. We also note that this means that the adjustments to the mandates of
departments, particularly those that have been amalgamated, will not be funded
differently until February next year.
With the cabinet announcement, the Department of Women has been renamed to the
Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities. Without allocating additional
funds for the expanded mandate, the concerns of vulnerable groups will once again be
paid lip service only. Government does not take the challenges of these groups
sufficiently seriously.
We call upon the Presidency, the National Treasury, the Department of Women, Youth
and Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Social Development, the South African
Police Services, Department of Justice & Correctional Services, the Department of
Health and the Department of Small Business Development to ensure that before the
October Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, there is intergovernmental alignment
and follow through with regards to funding commitments and implementation of the
decisions emanating from the National Summit on Gender-Based Violence and
Femicide.
If government is serious about addressing the issues of vulnerable people, it must also
place focus on the LGBTQIA++ community and sex workers.
In confronting the patriarchal system of society, we need to move from a time of failed
promises and a lack of accountability towards a more humane society where public
officials serve the people in an efficient and effective manner.
If this country is ever going to end Gender Based Violence, the state needs to put
money towards prevention and other programmes.
We commend the President for ensuring that fifty percent of his cabinet comprises
women. This is a step in the right direction and we trust the beginning of greater
progress towards gender equality in our country.
To successfully combat Gender-based Violence, we agree with the President that we
need a multi-departmental effort on the part of government. Gender-based violence is, as
the President affirmed in his previous SONA, an urgent national priority that requires the
mobilisation of all South Africans and the involvement of all institutions.
As civil society organisations working to advance the rights of women, we stand ready to
work with the departments mandated to address women’s issues.
For further information contact:
Mandisa Khanyile Nondumiso Nsibande
Rise Up against gender based violence ActionAid South Africa
073 506 2143 084 756 2813
Civil Society Organisations who endorse this statement:
1. ActionAid South Africa
2. Access Chapter 2
3. African Diaspora Forum Women’s League
4. African Diaspora Workers Network (ADWN)
5. Black Womxn Caucus
6. Budget Justice Coalition (BJC)
7. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
8. Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
9. Curriculum Development Project (CDP)
10. Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)
11. Dobsonville Human Rights Advice Office
12. DramAide
13. Equal Education Law Centre (EELC)
14. Lifeline SA
15. EPOC LGBTI
16. Feminist Women’s Art Network
17. Gender Links
18. Gender Based Violence Lifeline SA
19. Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa
20. JASS Southern Africa
21. KZN Network on Violence Against Women
22. Lawyers Against Abuse
23. Lesaka La Basadi
24. One in Nine Campaign
25. Oxfam South Africa
26. Passover Community Building Organisation
27. National Shelter Movement (NSM)
28. Nisaa Institute for Women
29. People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA)
30. Remmoho Women’s Forum
31. Rise Up Against Gender Based Violence
32. Rural Health Advocacy Project
33. South African Women in Dialogue
34. Section27
35. Shayisfuba
36. Sister Love International South Africa
37. Stop GBV NSP Campaign
38. Sonke Gender Justice
39. South African Youth Centre
40. Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT)
41. Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII)
42. Teddy Bear Clinic
43. #TheTotalShutdown
44. The Archive: Amabali Wethu Organisation
45. The Social Justice Foundation
46. The Wise Collective
47. Tosunga Baninga
48. Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre
49. Women and Girls Leadership Foundation
50. Women Leadership Social Empowerment
51. Women and Democracy Initiative, Dullah Omar Institute