Picture: @Kate_Lorimer/Twitter

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Community Safety on Friday rejected claims that it was sitting on millions of rand donated by a car manufacturer to tackle gender based violence, saying instead that the amount was much less.

This week Democratic Alliance Member of the Provincial Legislature Kate Lorimer said the department received a R30 million donation from BMW for the purpose of empowering victims of domestic abuse. She said the money remains unspent without explanation.

"This sends the message that the Gauteng ANC-led government does not care about victims of domestic abuse, especially women," said Lorimer, a member of the Legislature Committee on SA.

But on Friday the department responded saying the member of Provincial Legislature had issued a "misleading and factually incorrect" statement.

"The actual amount received as a donation is R30 000 ... as per norm in the public service - the department has advised the money be deposited via Provincial Treasury and has ring-fenced to use the donation for skills development for victims of gender based violence housed temporarily at Ekhaya Lethemba during the 2017/18 financial year," the department said.

"Skills development training and support is one of the services clients at the Centre receive. 

"The statement by Hon Lorimer that suggests the department does not care about victims of domestic abuse is concerning and a misrepresentation of facts; and should be rejected with contempt it deserves." 

The department said during the previous financial year it carried out various programmes including Ekhaya Lethemba, where more than 4 000 victims of gender-based violence have received psychosocial support, medico legal assistance, family justice services and skills development. 

Children who come to Ekhaya Lethemba with their mothers also have access the services. 

"This and other initiatives implemented, demonstrate the commitment and the appetite of the department and provincial government at large to work with and support victims as well as addressing the scourge."

The department said during the previous financial year it rolled out the Domestic Violence Act audits at police stations across the province in order to assess quality of service received from Client Service Centres. 

"1 215 dockets were audited and recommendations shared with relevant authorities including the Legislature Committee on SA."
The department said it met all its targets in the monitoring of stations, which it said was a "core mandate". 

However, the department said it could not meet some targets in respect to deployment of patrollers due to funding challenges. As many as 142 Community Police Forums were assessed for functionality and only six were found to be non-compliant with the legislation.

"This is great progress in ensuring community involvement in fighting crime."
The department said Lorimer's claims were "reckless, shocking, alarming and misleading; especially for someone who has unlimited access to information and leadership of the department. Leaders of society like her, have a moral obligation to build confidence and inspire and not fuel fires through misrepresentation of facts".