It is sad when a party loses talented people. It is sadder when one has worked for decades to build a party to see it teetering on the brink of a major setback.
Women in Cape Town march to Parliament in protest of gender-based violence. (Jaco Marais/Netwerk24)
Multimedia · User Galleries · News in Pictures
Send us your pictures · Send us your stories
Far too much money and effort are invested in responding to violence after it occurs, and managing its tragic consequences in a deeply damaged society. Prevention is a much better strategy, write Chandre Gould and Nwabisa Shai.
This week the Sexual Violence Research Initiative
(SVRI) and the City of Cape Town are hosting more than 700 researchers, activists
and policy makers from around the world to the latest knowledge about how to
prevent violence against women and children.
The good news is that violence is preventable.
We now know more than ever about the impact of trauma
and violence on women and children, and how to prevent it. We urgently need to
make this knowledge work for us in South Africa.
As Kgaugelo Moshia-Molebatsi from the Department of
Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation told the SVRI conference, "violence
against women and children in our country is an emergency".
Far too much money and effort are invested in
responding to violence after it occurs, and managing its tragic consequences in
a deeply damaged society. Prevention is a much better strategy.
OPINION | Melanie Verwoerd: Biggy going big is no laughing matter
The Violence Prevention Forum (VPF) is working hard to
use the knowledge generated in South Africa and internationally to prevent
The forum is a collective of committed people from government,
community-based organisations, research institutions and international
organisations who believe we can and must expand violence-prevention interventions
that work. We include senior people from national treasury, the departments of
health, basic education, social development and the police.
End the epidemic
South Africa faces an epidemic of violence which stands
in the way of us developing
as a nation. Violence
eats away at the fabric of society, rendering people fearful, unhappy and
children in South Africa are trapped in intergenerational cycles of poverty.
Families are oppressed by inequality, and kept there by violence.
2015 the loss in human capital due to experiences of violence during childhood
was estimated by UNICEF to be around R238bn.
is almost double the annual budget spent on the criminal justice system (R86.7bn
for SAPS and R44bn for courts and prisons in 2017/2018 budget). But we cannot
police our way out of violence.
need to start funding more violence prevention programmes.
The abnormally high levels of toxic stress
experienced by South African children is the cumulative consequence of exposure
to chronic poverty, systemic inequality, endemic violence and widespread
know that early childhood experiences impact on brain development and social
skills. When children are neglected, don't have enough to eat, and are exposed
to violence, they are more likely to be mentally and physically unwell as
adults, to turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their anguish, and to use
violence themselves, thus perpetuating intergenerational cycles of violence.
What wasn't working?
Nearly five years ago, the Institute for Security
Studies and UNICEF asked why we were still so far from successful large-scale
violence-prevention programmes, despite years of research and investment.
We wanted to know why there was a graveyard full of
pilot projects, money wasted when it could have prevented girls from being
raped, children from being abused, and women from being beaten.
We concluded that researchers didn't understand
the issues faced by government policy makers. Policy makers don't always
understand what NGOs need. And both policy makers and NGOs very often feel
pressured by the interests and demands of donors.
People on the frontline of service delivery don't know
what it's like to be a policy maker or researcher. Government is not always
aware of the difficult circumstances faced by frontline activists and care
What this suggests is that we weren't working together
to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing this country.
There were very few opportunities for us to talk,
plan, and share together – in a place not dominated by hierarchies of power and
knowledge, not influenced by money, and where we could dedicate time to
understanding each other.
So the VPF became a place where we listen and respond
to each other, share experiences and collaborate in the real sense of the word.
We meet as equals in a deeply democratic environment to explore and build
relationships between civil society and government, between academics and
activists, and between donors and development partners.
We are finding a common language for our challenges,
and grappling with what we know, and what we still need to know, to address the
challenge of violence in this country.
We speak with respect and empathy in an environment
without egos, characterised by a commitment to deep democracy. We are beginning
to model the relationships we would like to enable throughout society.
Government participants in the VPF now have a better
understanding of the challenges faced by grassroots organisations. Our academic
participants have shared the results of research from SA and internationally,
showing us the way to effective evidence-based violence prevention.
We are starting to understand how government allocates
resources, and how we can help government to spend more wisely on programmes
that protect women and children.
An economist from national treasury is now an advocate
of violence prevention inside government, and in 2018 the Department of Social
Development's budget, for the first time, had a line item for preventing
That is an important result. But, much more needs to
We have identified the major challenges standing in
the way of violence prevention, among them the fact that many frontline care
workers are themselves traumatised by violence, poverty and oppression.
We've been steadily building up a picture of what we
need to do in SA to prevent violence. We have a growing sense of optimism that it's
possible, and a determination to succeed. The alternative is not an option.
- Dr Nwabisa Shai is a Specialist Scientist at South African Medical Research Council. Dr
Chandre Gould is a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies. They are both
members of the Violence Prevention Forum.
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
Datsun now has an automatic GO model in its local line-up.
5 local women share their experiences
The surfers without an ocean.
Potato skins are given a fun twist with a savoury egg custard and salsa.
"A bit of kindness goes a long way."
*Sprinkles cayenne over entire life*
Motshekga says parents can opt out of the LO curriculum.
Cape Town CBDWest Coast PersonnelR20 000.00 - R35 000.00 Per Month
Western CapeO'Dwyer PersonnelR7 000.00 Per Month
BellvilleVericredR3 500.00 - R10 000.00 Per Month
Apartments / Flats
R 1 170 000
Apartments / Flats
R 12 500
Apartments / Flats
R 1 200 per day
We subscribe to the Press Code.
You choose what you want
News24 on Android
Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.
Terms and Conditions
24.com Terms and Conditions - Updated April 2012
Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.
This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.