Shongwe: Reading about murders of women now a norm

Shongwe: Reading about murders of women now a norm
FED UP: Mpumalanga social development MEC Thandi Shongwe says she is tired of attending court cases of gender based crime victims yet the scourge still continues to rage on in society. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK

She says men are “destroying the gains of democracy” and the “fabric of our society” with their violations of women’s rights.

Social development MEC Thandi Shongwe has added her voice in the fight against the abuse and killing of women in the country, saying South Africa has gone down to such level that reading about the murders of women has become a norm.

She recently delivered the department’s budget and policy speech through a visual sitting in Mbombela.

“As women, we are enraged, we have protested against our killing, we have marched against being raped, we have handed memorandums, we have attended court cases in solidarity with those maimed and killed by men,” she said.

Her speech covered a range of issues that her department is tasked to look at, including social relief, family support and women and child protection.

Shongwe said they were appealing to each and every woman in the province to rise and fight against this “great injustice”. 

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“We can’t remain quiet,” she said. “We must defeat the scourge of gender-based violence which is littered with unimaginable pains to society”. 

Fighting for the needs of neglected people

Shongwe said as time goes on the prevailing economic conditions were set to leave a lot of vulnerable people behind.

She said as a department they had to “quickly act”, providing help to 6 576 people food parcels, with 59 422 people getting food through the department’s funded centres across the province.

“We will further provide cooked meals to 11 000 people who are food-insecure from poor and vulnerable households through the community development centres,” she said.

She announced –

– Close to 180 000 girls will get sanitary towels

– An additional 1 500 work opportunities will be created through the expanded public works programme

– 2 000 children will be placed in foster care, an increase from last year’s 1 500 children. 

– 4 714 women will benefit empowerment programmes provided by the department, an increase from the 4 596 women that benefited last year

– Close to 2 000 people living with disabilities will be reached through the protective workshop programmes

– To help over 100 000 youths quit substance abuse

  90 youth development centres have been built across the province, with 444 job opportunities created 

Shongwe added that the reduction of her department’s budget by R97 million will affect some of the work that needs to be undertaken, the “responsibility of dealing with all social ills”.

“The challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and its social distancing requirements are likely to inhibit our performance on the ground. 

“We shall however strive not to deprive our people of the services they so much deserve despite these life-threatening circumstance,” she said.

(edited by ZK)

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