Riyaz Patel

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced R1,1bn in additional funding towards the fight against gender-based violence.

Addressing a special joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces on the crisis of gender-based violence and femicide Wednesday, Ramaphosa also announced an ’emergency action plan’ to halt the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV).

This include strengthen the justice system, enhancing the legal and policy framework, ensuring adequate care and support for victims and improving the economic power of women.

Ramaphosa told MPs the funds will be raised from the current budget and will not require additional borrowing.

He said the extraordinary and immediate response that is needed to reduce the attack needs to be matched with the substantial reallocation of finances.

“Cabinet this morning resolved to direct R1.1 billion in additional funding in this financial year to the comprehensive response to the gender-based violence.

“It is the government’s intention that the fund appropriated for this programme will be raised from within the current budget allocation and will not require any further any additional borrowing.”

Ramaphosa added that he will also meet with the private sector, seeking more funding to fight GBV.

“We will undertake a mass mobilization programme to train and deploy prevention activists to all our 278 municipalities. They will engage in household visits and community interventions, focus on changing harmful social norms,” the president said.

He added that government has launched “many, many interventions” over the past decade, but though well-intentioned, it has not delivered the outcomes “we have hoped for.”

Ramaphosa said: “To enhance the safety of women we will, as a matter of urgency, make the necessary amendments to our laws and policies to ensure that perpetrators of gender-based violence are brought to book.”

This emergency action plan, Ramaphosa said, will be driven by an Interim Steering Committee located in the Presidency and co-chaired by government and civil society organisations.

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