5 April 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) is vehemently insistent that government comes up with special strategies for dealing with Gender-Based Violence and Child Abuse as complaints to the police breach the 87 000 mark, as reported by Police Minister Bheki, during the first week of the national COVID-19 lockdown. The calls from women living in abusive relationships included a complaint against a police officer who had allegedly raped his wife – the Officer has since been arrested.
FEDUSA is concerned about the lack of clarity about the role of courts in the wake of this special crisis and wants these new anti-GBV strategies to especially include official assurances that courts will be open for the issuing of the protection orders against perpetrators of domestic violence during the national lock-down, said FEDUSA Vice President Social Justice and Gender, Dorothy Nokuzola Ndhlovu. These include provisions for ejecting perpetrators from their families and detaining them in places of quarantine. Covid – 19 protocols should be deliberately reviewed to allow women and children who have suffered from domestic abuse to travel to their local police to lay charges against perpetrators whether they be partners, fathers, family or strangers.
Consequently, FEDUSA is also appealing to government to increase the number of mobile clinics, both for COVID-19 testing and for treating victims for gender- based violence in all regions of the country with a special focus on vulnerable areas such as densely populated townships and informal settlements. The mobile clinics should include staff or other health workers specially trained in handling and managing gender-based violence including providing psychological support for the victims.
The government should make the details of the GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 or *120*786# widely known and available across communities throughout the country, in line with the standardised communications protocols that have been endorsed by social partners for telescoping across all platforms.
FEDUSA equally appeals to members of the SANDF and other law enforcement authorities
to respect human rights and dignity of citizens especially essential services workers who are called out there to work during this difficult time, and for the Ministry of Women and Children to sustain the campaign for the ratification and domestication of Convention 190 and raising awareness around it.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Dorothy Nokuzola Ndhlovu
FEDUSA Vice President: Social Justice and Gender
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
Ms Brenda Modise
FEDUSA Social Justice Officer
073 531 5339
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096