The Eastern Cape Government needs to put money behind its commitments in the fight against violence towards women and children and not continue making empty promises.

Today, 25 November 2022, South Africa launches 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children while the majority of our women and children are not enjoying any freedom nor safety.

The number of support centres in the form of shelters, safe homes and one-stop centres for victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the province have decreased over the past five years.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane and his executive will be espousing their commitment to dealing with the scourge of violence against women and children, but there are still no safe homes in the Chris Hani and OR Tambo districts for victims of abuse.

The reality is that the EC government is cutting budgets and closing these facilities. The number of safe homes across the province has declined from 15 to 11.

The available number of one-stop centres for GBV victims has remained at four since 2018/19 with no centres in the Alfred Nzo, Amathole, Buffalo City Metro and Sarah Baartman districts.

The provincial government missed another opportunity to show its commitment to the fight against GBV yesterday during the tabling of the adjustments budget. Not a single cent was shifted to bolster programmes providing support to GBV victims.

The latest crime stats showed that between July and September, there were 1666 rapes recorded in the Eastern Cape. That’s an average of over 18 rapes a day!

The police are proud of the fact that, nationally, they managed to get 286 rapists convicted and put behind bars. This is nothing to be proud of. Police minister Bheki Cele should be ashamed. He is failing the women of this country!

Nationally, over the past three months, 989 women were murdered. A further 1277 murders were attempted against women and another 13 701 women were severely assaulted.

We strongly urge Premier Mabuyane and his executive start making finances available to assist women and children during their time of need, or their 16 days of activism campaigns will remain nothing but box-ticking exercises.

Our women and children have been abused enough. Lies and empty promises will not solve their problems.

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Nomvano Zibonda MPL

Nomvano Zibonda, MPL, is the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) EC Provincial Chairperson.

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