South Africa: Premier Alan Winde, MEC Reagen Allen and Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis assist in painting Kraaifontein SAPS Victim Empowerment Room
Premier Winde, his team, Provincial Police Oversight and Community Safety Minister Allen and Mayor Hill-Lewis help bring soothing dignity to Kraaifontein SAPS Victim Empowerment Room
Helping to paint this room is a small gesture to help bring comfort, and support to those impacted by violent crime
South Africa is faced with a huge problem: gender-based violence. While the statistics tell a disturbing story, the lived experience of thousands of women who suffer violence reminds us all that we have to do more – especially men – to address this scourge.
As the Western Cape Government (WCG), we are doing everything we can to tackle GBV. But today Premier Alan Winde, officials in the Office of the Premier, Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety Minister Reagen Allen, along with Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis decided to do a little bit more.
They lent a hand in giving the Kraaifontein Police Station’s Victim Empowerment Room a fresh coat of paint. Such facilities offer survivors of crime, particularly GBV, safe havens where they receive emotional and practical support, as well as further information on other support services.
It may simply be a lick of paint, but what is important is ensuring these rooms make people feel safe, give them back their dignity and offer a sense of calmness and relief. Giving this room a fresh coat of paint will hopefully offer some sanctuary to those left traumatised by violent crime.
The Premier and his team came armed with paint, brushes, rollers - and the like - and rolled up their sleeves to do their bit in making the Kraaifontein SAPS station’s Victim Empowerment Room a place of dignity, comfort and safety.
Premier Winde noted: “Those who sacrifice their time to help survivors of violent crime are heroes. The least we can do is give some of our time on this Women’s Day to spruce up Kraaifontein Police Station’s Victim Empowerment Room. It is a small gesture, but we do it with deep compassion.”
“I say it again, though,” emphasised the Premier, “this is not just about doing something to help women and girls one day of a year, we have to do something 365 days a year. More importantly, we have to stop this scourge once and for all”
He stressed: “We cannot stand by and just expect law enforcement authorities and social workers to help those impacted by GBV, we all have to do our bit in any way we can.”
Before getting to the work at hand, Minister Reagen Allen told Victim Empowerment Programme volunteers and their police counterparts: “The work you do is very important. It is just one aspect of helping women and girls who have fallen victim to crime restore their dignity.” He also commended the Kraaifontein SAPS for its success in pushing down the murder rate in the area.
Mayor Hill-Lewis said: “To be of service to others with compassion is how we show our humanity. Helping to paint this room is a small gesture to help bring comfort, and support to those impacted by violent crime. The City of Cape Town and WCG are also making investments in crime prevention and other safety initiatives to have a meaningful effect on making communities safer.”
The WCG is taking GBV head-on, and is advancing gender equality and women empowerment in various ways:
Cultural Affairs and Sport
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais said: “Our department is committed to supporting girls and women through arts, culture and sporting activities. We believe that we can open many doors to the future for women by empowering them through activities offered at our libraries, through our arts and culture programmes, by offering a sense of belonging in taking part in sports and learning more about themselves through the narratives of history presented at our museums and archives.”
Minister of Education, David Maynier noted that keeping girls in school was a social and economic imperative, which is why the department maintains retention as a strategic priority. “We are committed to ensuring that our female learners have every opportunity to receive a quality basic education that will improve their future prospects.”
The Department offers various programmes dealing with gender-based violence, and incidents can be reported to the Safe Schools hotline on 0800 45 46 47. Our schools have also implemented their own support and development programmes for girls.
Environmental Affairs and Local Government
The Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Local Government, Anton Bredell said that there are direct links between the plight of women, on the one hand, and environmental challenges on the other hand.
“We are working towards dignified and safe access to water, energy, and sanitation for all of our citizens across our municipalities. I am proud of the work done by my department in the waste sector which has a dedicated women’s focus. We will host a Women in the Green Economy workshop and a Women in Air Quality event later this year. CapeNature’s Extended Public Works Programme has a dedicated focus on women and youth beneficiaries to deal with the crippling poverty experienced by many rural households.”
Finance and Economic Opportunities
While the Western Cape has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, there are still far too many people, especially young women, who do not have jobs in the province. That is why it is our top priority to increase opportunities for job creation.
“Both the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development prioritise the empowerment of women through/ Treasury aims to include more women in procurement processes and DEDAT supports women-owned SMMEs and provides training programmes, focused on upskilling women, so that they have the knowledge and support they need to succeed,” said Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.
Health and Wellness
In commemoration of Women’s Month, Western Cape Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo says they aim to increase awareness about women’s health issues to empower women where Women’s Health and Wellness is at the centre.
“We call on the whole of society to highlight and continue efforts to support women’s health, and their need for protection, safety, and well-being embedding health as everyone’s business.”
Minister of Infrastructure, Tertius Simmers said that they will continue seeking innovative ways to further empower women in all facets of our society through offering economic opportunities in the built environment sector.
The Department of Infrastructure is implementing the following measures - amongst others:
- Reducing distances that women need to travel at night in order to access shared water and toilet facilities in informal settlements with basic services;
- Provision of street lighting wherever possible to improve visibility;
- Consideration of blind spots and poorly lit areas where criminals could possibly hide and where women could be unsafe, such as street corners and open spaces; and designing to counteract these blind spots;
- Leadership training geared for informal settlement dwellers and capacitation of leadership structures to incorporate safety elements and protection of women and children.
Police Oversight and Community Safety
“We advance and promote equality in the workplace, ensure training & bursary opportunities and upliftment of females through the Chrysalis programme,” says Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen.
Many female youths are provided with opportunities in fields that were male-dominated, such as firefighting, welding, electrical circuitry, law enforcement.
“We promote the wellbeing of women through a basket of services, such as psychosocial support services. We support the safety of women through the provision of shelter services for victims of gender-based violence. We also provide specialised substance use disorder treatment and support tailored to the needs of women,” said Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Western Cape Government Department of the Premier.