Cape Town – The City of Cape Town's Executive Mayor Patricia De Lille on Tuesday donated 50 beds to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Manenberg in honour of Women's month.
According to a statement from the City, the centre has since 1990 housed women who have left their homes with their children due to abuse, providing a safe haven and a chance to rebuild their lives. The centre currently accommodates more than 100 women and children in the residential facility.
"When we heard that some of them share beds because of a shortage, I felt that it was important for us to lend a helping hand in line with the City of Cape Town’s commitment to building a caring city," said de Lille.
On average, the team at Saartjie Baartman and partner organisations assist up to 600 clients for domestic- or sexual violence-related matters a month. "These women and children deserve a comfortable and conducive environment to aid their recovery – which the centre is already providing – but I’m hoping these 50 beds will be able help even more," said de Lille.
De Lille saluted the women who had the courage to remove themselves from abusive situations, saying that in Cape Town and across the country in this year alone, there had been far too many abuse cases ending in women and children being killed.
"We have to take the lead from these courageous women who refused to be victims any longer and chose to survive with their children," said de Lille.
"A true testament of the Saartjie Baartman Centre’s work can be seen in the lives of two of their employees who for years battled in abusive relationships and even struggled with substance abuse. After being admitted to the centre, undergoing therapy and skills training, the two women are now staff members," added de Lille.
Over the last two years, the city has trained approximately 1,020 people through Mosaic and other partners to raise awareness on domestic and gender-based violence in communities in the metro. In 2016, the City also initiated the Women for Change programme, where they currently employ over 780 women living in council rental stock, to help uplift their communities through addressing environmental and socio-economic challenges.
According to the city, the programme has shown many positive results in communities and is in line with the city’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan principles to enhance service delivery, to be more a more responsive and customer-centric government, and to build safer communities.
"As a caring city, we also realise that winter is a difficult time of the year – especially for vulnerable groups, including street people. That is why we are also donating beds to night shelters and old-age homes, including those delivered to the Saartjie Baartman Centre, a total of 113 beds will be going to night shelters in Elsies River, Bellville, Retreat, Somerset West and Philippi," said de Lille.
In addition, during the Winter Readiness programme, which kicked off in May, street people were provided with emergency beds, hygiene packs and nutritional items issued to the organisation where the individuals were placed during the period.
The city has also disbursed aid to the value of R700,000 to 16 organisations that have all successfully applied for assistance during winter.