Collective launched to fight GBV, protect children

Cape Flats Safety Forum chairperson Abie Isaacs said the plan to join organisations has been “long in the making”.

Cape Flats Safety Forum chairperson Abie Isaacs said the plan to join organisations has been “long in the making”.

Published Jun 28, 2024


Provincial organisations aimed at missing persons and anti-gender-based violence-related matters have joined hands in a collaborative effort.

The Collective was launched in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, this week where the Cape Flats Safety Forum, Philisa Abafazi Bethu, together with Lentegeur and Strandfontein SAPS announced their multi-faceted approach to pool resources for missing person searches and engaging on topics relating to gender-based violence and child protection.

Cape Flats Safety Forum chairperson Abie Isaacs said the plan to join organisations has been “long in the making”.

“To this end, organisations have much been operating in silos despite them being there for the same purpose.

“We have a heart for the communities we work in and The Collective is an initiative and organisation that has been brought together to tackle the same issues we all want positive outcomes from.

“The Cape Flats Forum has been operating in the community since 2002 with its work to search for missing persons and to support people at court during criminal trials to ensure justice is served. It was time that we came together with the same mandate, while we have SAPS as the leading agency on these matters, but with our collaboration, we envision that there will be an expedited process with organisations using their combined knowledge and experience to best assist in missing persons searches and the issues around GBV,” said Isaacs.

The 50-member strong team are geared up to start their work in communities across the metro.

Philisa Abafazi Bethu’s Lucinda Evans said: “What we fundamentally need is active citizenry where groups can come together and exercise that for the benefit of the communities and the vulnerable who need it. We have so far engaged with Wynberg’s Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit and Emergency Medical Services as first responders.

“Our vision is to have this rolled out to other organisations in rural areas – including areas such as Saldanha along the West Coast where Joshlin Smith went missing this year where active citizenry was so much needed – so there is a greater network of resources working for a common goal,” said Evans.

Strandfontein CPF chairperson Sandy Schuter-Flowers said communities could benefit from more manpower in physical searches.

“When I was approached by The Collective and we decided to bring our teams together, with the same vision, I felt this was something my community could benefit from, not just Strandfontein but every community where there are very few boots on the ground. We are excited to be a part of this team,” said Schuter-Flowers.

Lentegeur CPF chairperson Byron de Villiers said the collaboration has been in the pipeline for “quite some time”.

“We have joined forces and resources and thought of a unit that could be resourced, trained and assist SAPS in terms of looking for missing persons and to provide support for GBV victims. We will also be reaching out to the provincial commissioner and other stakeholders to take hands with us,” said De Villiers.

Cape Times