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Can government fund measures to tackle gender-based violence?

President says state will find the money.
Ramaphosa was forced to address protestors whose demonstrations coincided with the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town last week. Image: GCIS

Two days of protests outside parliament that coincided with the World Economic Forum is what it took for President Cyril Ramaphosa to reaffirm government’s commitment to bolstering the fight against gender-based violence and femicide in the country. 

Speaking to protestors in Cape Town last week and later in a televised address to the nation, Ramaphosa announced a series of measures the state will implement involving the criminal justice system as well as social and educational interventions meant to respond to the violence against women. 

“Is there going to be sufficient financial resources to make sure that we protect the women of our country? My answer is yes, we are going to find the money,” Ramaphosa told protestors. 

Read: Ramaphosa vows to tackle gender-based violence

While speaking to the nation on television, he said that finance minister Tito Mboweni should “allocate additional funding to the national machinery to coordinate our campaign against gender-based violence”.

Budget constraints

Ramaphosa’s remarks come on the back of requests made by National Treasury for departments to cut their budgets by between 5% and 7% over the next three years in order to contain the government’s budget deficit. 

This after Eskom received an additional R59 billion bailout in July – a move that Moody’s, the last rating agency to keep South Africa’s credit rating at investment grade, said left the government with little fiscal room to manoeuvre. 

Yet other state-owned entities such as Denel and the SABC have also been allocated government cash injections from the contingency reserves, a situation Mboweni said cannot be allowed to continue. 

How much would be needed

Adjunct Professor at Wits University’s Southern Centre for Inequality Studies Michael Sachs has said the difficulty in finding the money will be clearer once government determines exactly how much will be needed to fund the proposals. 

“It is a very different thing if it is in the millions as opposed to the billions,” says Sachs, a former deputy director-general in National Treasury’s budget office. 

Sachs says government would have to raise the money by shifting resources from non-performing programmes, and if it is a really large amount that is needed, this could affect more than one portfolio.

Doable, says expert

However, he says the measures Ramaphosa announced do not appear to need a huge amount of money in the context of a trillion-rand budget. 

Even if huge amounts are allocated, Sachs says that in a huge organisation like government, the issue will become the rate at which spending occurs “because you need time to ramp up the capacity”.

“So even if you had a large number in mind for one of those programmes, you may find that for next year’s budget it starts with a small amount and then it grows the following year and so on, and the full impact is a few years away.

“I don’t think budget limitations are a big problem on this one,” says Sachs.

“For example, at police stations, is the issue the technology that you have around rape or is the issue the training of the police officers in the stations to be gender-sensitive? I would imagine the second issue is a much bigger issue.”

Read: Protesters try to gain entrance to WEF Africa

Sachs points out that police officers are affected by the same issues that colour society when dealing with victims of gender-based violence. A solution here would be to enhance already-existing training programmes for police officers, which will not require much funding input. 

He says that in the context of a slowing economy and rising unemployment, the justice, crime prevention and security cluster has generally been less of a priority in terms of funding as opposed social needs such as education, social welfare and health. 

Government’s rationale has been that these items would be felt more keenly by the poor. However, the unrest that has raised the profile of gender-based violence as a priority to the state “gives credence to arguments that we should regard the security cluster as having important social elements”, says Sachs. 

Can’t afford complacency

With the exception of items such as making the national register of sex offenders public, spokesperson for the Total Shutdown movement Lesley Ncube says the promises Ramaphosa has made are not new and come from the declaration that was signed after the gender summit in November 2018. 

However, Ncube says government needs to act faster and show commitment by allocating resources towards the measures meant to combat gender-based violence, especially given the rate at which women experience violence in South Africa.  

Read: Woman murdered every three hours in South Africa stokes protests

Despite Ramaphosa promising in his February state of the nation address to address resources at the Thuthuzela Care Centres and Khuseleka Care Centres, which provide a range of services for victims of sexual and domestic violence, or strengthening relevant specialised units, no new allocations were made towards this in Mboweni’s budget.

Ncube says things that could be expedited in the short term include allocating money towards shelters, having rapid response teams up and running, and denying bail to those who have been arrested for gender-based violence.




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Money does not sort out all problems. A mindset change, law and order and measured outcomes to perpetrators does.

yes, start with the basics eg. how a dustbin is used, respect for one self, don’t spit on the street etc.

I am so tired of MW blocking my comments because they are too honest about our situation in SA, I decided to go with something more politically correct:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

I’m sure your egg reference will offend some vegan somewhere.

Unfortunately political correctness is the order of the day in SA. You aren’t allowed to call out someone for doing something stupid anymore for fear of reprisal or heaven forbid being called a racist.

Stupid has no colour. Stupid is just plain old stupid.Let’s just call it what it is.

Me too. I reckon about 30% get blocked. I think if you use the words “savage”, “simian” or “hordes” it is a red flag for the MW censor board.

Is this a fight against gender-based violence or a fight against the violence against women? Or both?

Cause the way I see it, both are a major issue, one just seems to get hidden far more and never gets masses in the streets. Like having my shoulder dislocated was “just an accident” and I’ve been hit with more hard and sharp objects than I can count. But hey, someone needs to protect the kids in light of nobody taking me seriously.

We live in a very violent country, the killing and abuse of the fellow human being is unsurpassed any where in the world.

kicked off years ago with farmers and is now just a general thing. years ago the ANC where warned, when the poor and uneducated get angry be very careful!!

Gov. can educate, and can instill a fear of consequences through harsh penalties. They cannot cure a societal and cultural problem. This is up to the community.

@Cyril Ramaphosa

Sorry, please could you explain how money is going to fix this problem and make it go away?

Do you have an actual plan, that can be executed, that research shows will make a difference like it has somewhere else in the world. Or is it one of those we think it might work, but in the meantime we’ll just waste/steal/lose the money.

Talking about the money. You said the following:

“Is there going to be sufficient financial resources to make sure that we protect the women of our country? My answer is yes, we are going to find the money,”

Find the money you say, so once again the tax payer has to fit the bill?

Finding money is the easy part. Putting it to good use is the most difficult.

1. Policemen and women need to be educated and be available for women that report abuse.
2. Having ads is of no use; especially when aired just after an alcohol advert,
3. How to change the mindset of a thug that is prepared to kill for a cell phone is the greatest challenge.

I say give the money to a well managed NGOs that works on the ground.

Government can only help by creating a police and legal system whereby the probability and consequence of violence are severe enough to deter. Money and programs won’t help.

The rest of society is to blame for the culture. We collectively raised these cowards.

End of comments.





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