Corporates pledge millions at launch of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund
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Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the private sector's initiative to partner with the government as millions of rand have been pledged towards the newly launched Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund.
Ramaphosa gave an address at the virtually-held event on Thursday.
"The launch fulfils a promise made to women and children in our country to work together and end the violence against women and children," Ramaphosa said.
The fund was a privately led initiative with the help of the government. It is intended to expand on the government's work in fighting GBVF in the country.
It comes two years after the 2018 GBVF summit which saw various members of civil society discuss the issues surrounding GBV in the country.
Last year, the government launched the National Strategic Plan (NSP) in response to GBV. It seeks to deal with expanding support for GBVF survivors, broadening access to justice, driving social change and to broaden access to economic opportunities for economically marginalised women.
The president said the government's ability to spend money on various social issues has been constrained because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said government departments had pledged to support the fight against GBVF with R21 billion being pledged towards pillars of the NSP over a three-year period.
He promised that government departments will be held accountable for holding up pledges made towards the NSP.
The GBVF Response fund has been set up with a board which will be chaired by Wits Chancellor and businesswoman Judy Dlamini.
The fund will be administered by Alexandra Forbes and Absa had pledged to provide it with banking services to fund for 12 months.
Dlamini said the board's fund would drive its mandate, but the fund would be focused on working with police to reduce second-hand victimisation of GBVF victims.
Other priorities include job creation initiatives and providing safe spaces for abused women and children.
The launch also saw various organisations pledge support including Business Unity SA, the Black Business BusinesS Council and the United Nations.
Corporate donations have been made to fund including R30 million from Anglo American, R10 million from Absa and R20.2 million from the Ford Foundation and R500 000 from Sanlam.
"GBVF has socio-, financial, health and security effects just to name a few. Its effects are serious and extreme. They cost our very nation.
’’Many of our citizens have to live in fear because they are women and girls. With your financial support, we will be able to step up support by expanding scope at national, provincial and community level," Ramaphosa said.