Cape Town - The Western Cape Department of Social Development has allocated R62 million to programmes and initiatives in protection, aid and support people in the LGBTQIA+ community during the 2021/2022 financial year.
Among the areas that the money will go to include the victim empowerment programme in which the department partners with the Triangle Project to provide psycho-social services to members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have been victims of crime.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez revealed this in a written response to a question asked by Good Party MPL Shaun August.
She said the province’s GBV Implementation plan includes LGBTIQA+ victims as a vulnerable group.
August wanted to know how much of the 2021/22 budget has been allocated to programmes and initiatives in protection, aid and support of people in the LGBTQIA+ community,
He asked how the department supported the community during Fernandez’s term of office since May 2019 and what support services the department offers to the transgender community.
Fernandez said the services include counselling and support services for survivors of violence, health as well as support for the LGBTQIA+ community living with HIV.
“The department also provides support for the LGBTQIA+ parents and parents of LGBTI children and support for transgender and gender non-conforming people.”
She said that as MEC, she has helped develop LGBTQIA+ sensitising workshops for department staff and community members.
“During the Covid-19 hard lockdown, phone services were made available to this grouping in light of the restrictions on movement imposed on the public under the disaster act.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Information Regulator hosted its Human Rights Month webinar focusing on access to information as a human right and the challenges often faced by the LGBTQIA+ community.
Regulator chairperson advocate Pansy Tlakula said as much as South Africa was at the forefront of the countries globally that ensure the protection of LGBTQIA+ people, there were still gaps in the constitutional right and full realisation of the rights.
She said the regulator had a duty to ensure that marginalised groups were aware of the right to gain access to information and should they be denied access, they could lodge a complaint with the regulator and did not need to go to court.
Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister John Jeffrey said: “Protecting the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons is not only about access to information, but it’s also about protecting the privacy and personal information of people.”