DA-run Western Cape opens six GBV shelters while Gauteng opens zero 

Issued by Alexandra Abrahams MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Social Development
02 Nov 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Alexandra Abrahams MP. See photos of oversight visit to some of the buildings in Gauteng here, here and here.

The Western Cape is  leading the way in the use of government buildings for GBV shelters.

The Western Cape Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) for Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez, has successfully opened all six GBV shelters. This after Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille handed over twelve buildings between December 2019 and March 2020 to the Provincial Department of Social Development in Gauteng and the Western Cape for use as Gender Base Violence (GBV) shelters.

The Western Cape Government wasted no time in signing Memorandum Of Understandings (MOUs) and partnering with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ensure a safe space for vulnerable women with the first shelter having opened within just three months.

The Gauteng province on the other hand shamefully failed to complete the six buildings which are currently being “safeguarded” by private security companies, at a cost to taxpayers, while vulnerable women and children desperately seeking refuge from abuse, struggle to find suitable temporary accommodation.

In a written reply to the Democratic Alliance, Minister Patricia de Lille confirmed that: the Department of Social Development has not yet occupied the houses; the houses are still guarded by the DPWI; the Gauteng Provincial Department of Social Development has not yet signed the tripartite Memorandum of Agreement and further demands that the subject properties be permanently transferred to the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development.

Public Works has spent R1 960 411.84 to date, on building and garden renovations for the six Gauteng buildings, but the buildings remain closed. On a recent oversight visit to four out of the six closed GBV shelters in Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Democratic Alliance found gardens that are overgrown, holes in ceilings and vibracrete walls, cracks in walls and broken lights to name but a few. Which begs the question what was the taxpayers’ money spent on?

If the DPWI does not act immediately, the cost to repair these buildings will only increase – a further burden on the taxpayer and shrinking budgets.

The Democratic Alliance will submit further written questions to Minister De Lille to ascertain exactly how and when over R1.9 million was spent, as well as projected expenditure for safeguarding of these buildings not yet conducive for occupation.

We have written to the Minister of Social Development, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, to request her urgent intervention to demand the Gauteng Provincial Department of Social Development immediately sign the MOU and get these shelters up and running.