By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA – The Free State Social Development MEC for Social Development Mamiki Qabathe says plans are afoot to address the shortage of safe shelters for victims of gender-based violence in the province.
Although she acknowledged the severity of the problem, Qabathe insisted that the department is not exactly overwhelmed.
“To respond to the shortage of shelters in Free State, we supplement them by enlisting the services of non-government organizations funded by the department. They give us temporary shelters because ours cannot accommodate all of the victims. We get victims from hospitals where we work with the department of health and police.
“We have a facility called Thuthuzela Care Centers , a one stop facilities that have been introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti rape strategy , aiming to reduce secondary victimization and to build case ready for successful prosecution. Here services are combined; there is health, police and social development as well as National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).”
There are only five shelters for victims of abuse in the Free State: two in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality, two in Lejweleputswa and one in Mangaung Metro Municipality.
The head of social development department Advocate Tumelo Phahlo says plans are in the pipeline to build more shelters in the remaining districts of Xhariep and Fezile Dabi.
According to an SABC report, social work manager, Prudence Ramolemohe, said five shelters can accommodate victims of abuse for up to six months, while the department’s safe house can accommodate victims for 72 hours.