The Guard

The Truth On Board

Map speeds up GBV response team formation

By Libuseng Nyaka

QWAQWA – Significant progress has been made in coordinating key stakeholders that will form part of a Rapid Response Team (RRT) against gender-based violence in Maluti-A-Phofung local municipality.

This is in line with the national strategic plan on gender-based violence.

The committee, which is expected to be led by Executive Mayor of Maluti-A-Phofung Gilbert Mokotso or anyone assigned by him, will comprise of role players in the fight against gender based violence where selected.

Traditional leaders, healers and religious are among partners that have been identified for the team.

Outlining what the national strategic plan on gender-based violence entails, the department of women and children‘s deputy director general Shoki Tshabalala had this to say: “We have victim 7 support centre, victim’s empowerment programmes, and social support. A person is perceived to be a victim, but we normally call them survivors because you are a victim when it first happens to you; but thereafter you become a survivor because you get empowered about this issue and assisted with how to deal with its emotional impact.

“You must not stop seeking help; you must not bottle it up. We will not coerce you to be part of social support, but we walk the path with you. When you are ready, that is when we take you through the process to help you deal with this.

“There will be questions that will be asked to you, since it can’t be something that happens overnight and you say you are healed.”

She also revealed that the national strategic plan has pillar five which is about economic power.

“We then encourage people who are either in domestic violence cases who are stuck in marriages because of economic reasons; we try to bring them together and let them be part of those women that can be trained so that they can sustain themselves.”

A member of centre of drug authority, Reverend Reuben Sokane, hailed a workshop as an eye opener.

“We have been so fortunate to have this workshop because it has opened our eyes. Our role is to fight against substance and drug abuse as they too have been identified as drivers of gender based violence and most of the time this ends up with victims being infected with HIV/Aids due to reckless behaviour influenced by the use of drugs.

“We are also happy to hear that Salga and Cogta will playing an oversight role to ensure that the strategic plan is implemented accordingly.”

One of the participants, Mapaseka Madonsela of Qholaqhwe advisory centre, an organization that deals with victims of gender-based violence, said there is a link between culture and gender-based violence.

“Some of the problem stems from a division of roles where you find certain roles are only meant for women not men. All these are drivers of gender-based violence and men find themselves as having powers over women. Some of the things said about marriage, for instance, that a man is the head of the family, make him believe his word is final in the family. But that is not the real meaning of that, and we are trying to make them understand and change that mentality.”

Bishop Thulo Mile of Moral Regeneration Movement, said fighting gender-based violence can be lot easys if people align themselves with the Bible and live according to the reason why man and a woman were created as equals.

“As religious leaders, we will continue to remind our followers about God’s plan when he created a man and a woman. We must live according to that plan.”

The workshop was organized by office of the executive mayor of Maluti-A-Phofung through Member of Mayoral Committee Ellen Mofokeng and community service director Soso Sepheka and various government departments.