MURA hosts gender-based violence workshop

Norman Jantjes, the chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Residents’ Association, speaking at the gender-based violence workshop.

Mitchell’s Plain Residents’ Association (MURA) held a gender-based violence workshop with stakeholders in the community.

The workshop focused on an informative session on the gender-based violence issues and the justice system on Wednesday March 24 at West End Primary School in Lentegeur.

Stacey Thomas, social worker for the Department of Social Development in Mitchell’s Plain for gender-based violence, said a lot of things need to be taken into consideration with gender-based violence.

Ms Thomas is the only social worker at the Department of Social Development working in gender-based violence in Mitchell’s Plain.

“When we are considering conducting programmes we need to relook training in our community on caring for victims,” she said.

A shelter and safe house is needed for victims of violence in Mitchell’s Plain especially for men, said Ms Thomas.

Norman Jantjes, chairperson of Mura and the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF), said gender-based violence is a big problem. More capacity to help on gender-based violence in Mitchell’s Plain is needed, he said.

The Department of Social Development need to employ more social workers to deal with the issue of gender-based violence as they currently only have one social worker focusing on gender-based violence, said Mr Jantjes.

Social auxiliary workers should also be trained and employed by the Department of Social Development, he said. Mr Jantjes is the former Mitchell’s Plain director of the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) and a former Youth Safety Programme Manager for the ‎Department of Community Safety.

SAPS officers and neighbourhood watch members should be trained in this aspect as they are usually the first responders, said Mr Jantjes.

Celeste Solomons, social worker at Sisters Incorporated with the Western Cape Women’s Shelter Movement, said shelters are not at a registered point yet. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), SAPS, government departments dealing with informal settlements, to name a few, need to come on board to help create more opportunities for shelters in various communities. It is an ongoing struggle, she said.

Garry Titus, senior prosecutor for the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit (SOCA), explained to the stakeholders what processes they can follow to report these issues.

Mura plans to facilitate further workshops on gender-based violence, said Mr Jantjes.