GBV shelters in Western Cape delayed by defects, security issues
Cape Town - The much-vaunted opening of the six shelters for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in the Western Cape has allegedly been delayed due to the time the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) is taking to respond to negotiations for reaching a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the province.
The MoU to allow the six government-owned properties to be made available as shelters for GBV survivors was signed between the Western Cape government and the national DPWI in October last year.
However, delays were also blamed on the alleged slow administration of the department, with the Western Cape Women’s Shelter Movement calling for the shelters to be rendered to those desperately in need.
Social development standing committee chairperson in the Western Cape Legislature, Gillion Bosman, said now a further delay had come as a result of the security and quality concerns of the sites.
“For that reason, a detailed snag list of defects was compiled. It is up to the DPWI to attend to, among others, broken windows and security of the shelters, so that provincial service providers can move in by February 1,” said Bosman.
Bosman said it was also necessary for rezoning to take place and for electrical and occupancy certificates to be finalised.
Department of Public Works and Infrastructure spokesperson Zara Nicholson said the snag list was only received on December 18, when it was already a builders’ holiday.
Nicholson said it was also the festive season and most officials were already on annual leave. However, a team to attend to the snag list has been assembled and will begin with the work next week.
Bosman said he would continue to conduct the necessary oversight to ensure there were no hiccups in the finalisation of those shelters, particularly with reference to their security and suitability for GBV survivors.
The shelters would be located on two adjacent properties as one shelter in Bergriver Municipality, one in Swartland Municipality, one shelter in Laingsburg Municipality and two shelters in Hessequa Municipality.
The Western Cape Women's Shelter Movement chairperson, Bernadine Bacha, said the movement has been working together with the departments of social development and public works with this initiative.
Bacha said it was crucial that those shelters were adequately funded and enjoyed ongoing support from the relevant government departments. He said shelters also required support in assisting survivors who have medical needs, particularly mental health assistance and substance dependency support.
SA Women Fight Back founder Bronwyn Litkie said the country had not experienced any improvement when looking at how many women and children had lost their lives to GBV.
Litkie said it had been disappointing for them to hear that there was no allocated budget for GBV when things were becoming increasingly dire.