The following question is part of Groundup's Answers to your questions series and comes from a reader who needs assistance with government housing to escape an abusive partner.
The short answer
There are a few organisations that offer assistance, shelter, counselling, legal support and educational programmes
The whole question
I am in a very abusive relationship. I want to escape with my children but I don't have a job or house – I'm entirely dependant on my boyfriend. I applied for an RDP house in 1998 but nothing has come of it.
Also read: Someone fraudulently transferred a title deed to his name, instead of my mother's. What do I do?
The long answer
Firstly, on your 1998 application for an RDP house:
You should go back to the same municipal office where you applied for an RDP house, taking with you the proof of your application, a certified affidavit that you are unemployed, your ID and certified copies of your children’s birth certificates.
You should ask the municipality what has happened to your application. If you have no proof of your application and they cannot find it, you may have to apply again.
If you do have proof of your application, you can ask the MEC of Human Settlements (in other words, Housing) to intervene. The MEC in every province has the right to review applications on a case-by-case basis. The MEC of Human Settlements in the Western Cape is Tertius Simmers.
There is a general Housing Enquiries Hotline at 0800 146 873, and a Western Cape (Please Call Me) number: 079 769 1207.
You can also contact the department at these numbers: 021 483 6488 / 3112 / 0611
Or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact a person called Colleen Smart at Housing Queries and ask how you can report your situation to MEC Tertius Simmers:
Tel: 021 483 0675
Cell: 072 825 3257
Secondly, to get help in your abusive situation:
There are a few organisations that offer assistance, shelter, counselling, legal support and educational programmes in Cape Town:
1. The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre has a shelter for abused women and children in Khayelitsha which provides temporary shelter. It offers them a place to stay, individual and family counselling, legal support, access to healthcare, educational programmes and victim empowerment groups. It receives funding from the Department of Social Development for a three-month stay. These are their contact details:
Address: 29 Tanga Street, Eyethu, Khayelitsha 7784.
Telephone: 021 3640 135 / 0213644 349
2. The Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg offers 24-hour emergency accommodation, short and medium-term residential care, childcare services and children’s counselling, legal advice and job skills training.
These are their contact details:
Address: Klipfontein Road, Manenberg 7764.
Tel: 021 633 5287
In December 2020 a new National Shelter Movement of South Africa (NSMSA) toll-free helpline was launched, based at the Centre. You can speak to experienced social workers on this helpline who will advise and help victims of domestic abuse.
The NSMSA helpline number is 0800-001-005
3. Ilitha Labantu is another organisation that helps abused women and children.
Their main office is in Guguletu: Ny 22 – 26A. They also have a Khayelitsha Satellite office at Shop No. 5, Isivivana Centre, 8 Mzala Street (corner of Mzala and Julius Tsholo Street).
Tel: 021 633 2383 or 021 633 3048
Wishing you the best,
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