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National Shelter Indaba: Insights from the Department of Social Development



National Shelter Indaba

In Sandton, the two-day National Shelter Indaba (from 21-22 November) has brought attention to critical gaps in shelters addressing the needs of victims of gender-based violence and femicide. According to the South African Government, the initial discussions revealed challenges such as insufficient funding, transportation issues for victims, the shortage of social workers in some facilities, and concerns about shelters’ compliance with norms and standards.

Delegates learned that up to half of shelters’ budgets are allocated to salaries, straining their financial resources. This financial strain hampers their ability to provide adequate services to victims of gender-based violence.

Ms Sindisiwe Msimango, a shelter manager from Mpumalanga, emphasised the transportation challenges faced by shelters, particularly concerning the safety of victims and social workers in the face of increasingly sophisticated tracking methods used by perpetrators of gender-based violence.

Security concerns and delays in government subsidies also emerged as threats to the safety of shelter residents and staff. Ms Rose Bailey from a shelter in the Northern Cape Province urged that shelters be treated with dignity, stressing their crucial role in saving lives and restoring women’s mental health.

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Former Deputy President of South Africa, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, joined the Indaba virtually, stressing that gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) should be treated as a pandemic, with collective efforts needed from everyone, including governments.

Uber SA presented a solution to transportation challenges by partnering with the National Shelter Movement South, providing safe transportation for victims of gender-based violence. The company reported transporting 6,715 women and their children to places of safety.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu appealed to the private sector to collaborate in supporting the government’s efforts through shelters. She highlighted shelters’ vital role in offering care, safety, support, and opportunities for healing to South African women and children.

The Department of Social Development has allocated over R211 million for four years to support 134 shelters providing victim support services nationwide. Minister Zulu outlined the department’s initiatives, including developing an inter-sectoral shelter policy and the upcoming launch of a shelter in the North West during the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children.

Also read:


Global Call Against Gender-Based Violence: 16 Days of Activism Focus

Picture: X / The_DSD

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