More than 60% of targets in govt's R1.6bn GBV response plan not reached, commission finds

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Women protest in Sandton over gender-based violence.
Women protest in Sandton over gender-based violence.
Aisha Abdool Karim
  • Two-thirds of the targets set out in a government plan to address gender-based violence were not met, according to a report.
  • The report by the Commission for Gender Equality assessed the six-month Emergency Response Action Plan's implementation.
  • The report called for a government review of the plan's implementation.

More than 60% of the targets set out in the government's Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP) on gender-based violence and femicide were not achieved.

According to a report by the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), the government did not achieve 51 of the 80 targets set out in the ERAP. The ERAP was a six-month intervention rolled out by the government in October 2019, which aimed to address rising cases of gender-based violence and femicide.

It was rolled out after the country marked a series of murders, including that of Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leighandre Jegels, Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Nomfazi Gabada, Nwabisa Mgwandela and many others, at the hands of men.

The government spent around R1.6 billion on the ERAP, according to a report by the Daily Maverick. The largest portion of the funding - more than R500 million - was reportedly allocated to improving support structures for survivors of gender-based violence. Funding was also reportedly allocated to developing Thuthuzela care centres and hiring social workers.

"The CGE considered the ERAP initiative one of the most important interventions by the government to deal with gender-based violence in general, and violence against women in particular.

READ | #SayHerName: The faces of South Africa's femicide epidemic

"The report is based on a review of the government's implementation of the six-month Emergency Response Action Plan that was rolled out in October 2019 to deal with the country's escalating scourge of gender-based violence and femicide," the commission said in a statement.

The ERAP covered five themes:

  • Access to justice for victims and survivors;
  • Changing norms and behaviours through high-level prevention efforts;
  • Urgent response to victims and survivors of gender-based violence;
  • Strengthening accountability and architecture for an adequate response to GBV and femicide; and
  • Interventions for women's economic empowerment.

The CGE report found there had been poor performance on three of these themes: access to justice, changing norms and behaviours, and increasing economic empowerment.

This report reviewed and assessed the extent to which the various government departments succeeded or failed in carrying out their assigned ERAP responsibilities and achieving their targets by the end of the six-month period. Of the 80 targets mapped out in the ERAP, only 17 (21%) of the targets were fully met, while 12 were partially achieved, according to the report.

Some of the reasons for the failure to achieve the targets include poor coordination between the 22 departments required in the intervention, the report found.

The commission also found the focus in implementing the ERAP was on observable (quantitative) output, and not on a long term (qualitative) response.

The commission shared recommendations along with the report, which called for the government to undertake a review of the implementation, through an independent service provider, the results of which should be made public. It also called for stronger involvement by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.

"The CGE is convinced that the findings contained in this report hold valuable lessons not only for the gender sector in general, but also for policymakers in government, regarding some of the challenges experienced during the implementation of the ERAP initiative.

"The CGE also hopes that the release of the report to the public will contribute to wider public debates about some of the challenges that are often encountered in initiatives of this magnitude," the statement said.

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