NATIONAL NEWS - The Department of Social Development has allocated R100 million from the Criminal Assets Recovery (CARA) Funds Account to provide financial support to organisations rendering services to victims of crime, gender based violence and femicide (GBVF).
The allocation of the funds account is part of the measures to implement Pillar 4 of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on Gender Based Violence and Femicide, which includes response, care, support and healing
Speaking at the Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) meeting, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the funding is made available through the National Development Agency (NDA) over a period of 24 months.
The MINMEC responsible for Social Development held a virtual meeting on Friday, to take stock of the sector’s measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zulu said an amount of R95 million is set aside for direct financial support to organisations, while R5 million will be used for mentoring and coaching of emerging civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Social Development Sector.
“The first tranche of R45 million has already been transferred for the implementation of services to victims and survivors of gender based violence and femicide, focusing on family strengthening, social crime prevention, social behaviour change and welfare services.
“To date, a total of 170 contracts have been signed and the first payment has been transferred to 131 organisations to the value of R17.4 million. An additional R17.4 million has been committed as second phase of payment for the contracted organisations. The process of contracting the remaining 142 CSOs is currently underway,” Zulu said.
Relocation of GBV Command Centre
The Minister said the department plans to relocate the Gender Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) to new and bigger premises that were donated by Public Works and Infrastructure in Salvokop, Pretoria.
“We are all living through challenging times, but we want to remind women and girls not to suffer in silence. The Gender Based Violence Command Centre provides round-the-clock support services,” Zulu said.
She said the success of the GBVCC can be attributed to the fact that it is a comprehensive, integrated system that provides immediate, consistent, coordinated and timely support to victims of GBV.
The GBVCC toll free number to call to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV). Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.
Strengthening measures to protect most vulnerable groups
The MINMEC also commits to work together to intensify the implementation of measures to protect the most vulnerable groups and minimise the negative impact of the pandemic, particularly in residential care facilities for older persons, persons with disabilities as well as child and youth care centres which have recorded high rates of infection.
Zulu commended the dedication of social service professionals who are in the frontline of the sector’s response and reiterated that their health and safety will remain a priority at all times.
Early Childhood Development
The MINMEC further commits towards strengthening and fast-tracking support towards Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes in ensuring that the programmes meet the COVID-19 requirements.
MINMEC emphasised a need to strengthen and streamline communication using the inter-sectoral forums that have been established in terms of the National Integrated Policy on ECD.
Over 6 million food parcels distributed
On food relief measures, Zulu announced that the department has to date, distributed food parcels to over 6.5 million people across the country, with over 2 million reached in the Gauteng Province alone.
The department’s report indicated that the demand for food parcels peaked in May during level 4 of the national lockdown. While current data shows that the demand has levelled off, there is concern that it could ramp up again as more households experience hardship due to unemployment.
Funding for NPOs
Zulu said the provincial departments have been advised to extend the 2019 service level agreements with an additional six months to enable them to continue rendering much-needed services to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister reported that the first quarter tranches of the subsidies were paid to all deserving NPOs, and the department is completing transfers for the second quarter subsidies in the few provinces that are remaining, whilst the majority of provinces have transferred their subsidies.
Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has received over 8.5 million applications for the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant.
Zulu said of the 5.5 million applications approved in July, over three million have been paid.
“The cumulative number of rejected applications currently stands at 2.7 million. In line with administrative justice, SASSA has established a recourse mechanism that enables rejected applicants to apply for reconsideration and reassessment. SASSA has commenced with the reassessments and approximately 900 000 applicants who were previously declined, have since been reinstated and paid accordingly,” Zulu said. – SAnews.gov.za