Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has relaunched the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Command Centre – a 24-hour facility in Salvokop, Pretoria, to address indecent assault, physical violence, rape, abandonment of children and various other forms of abuse.
The relaunch – which aims to assist the most vulnerable in South Africa, who live each day with the risk of abuse and violence – comes as the country marks the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
“If we do not deal with the issue of GBV [and femicide] house to house, street to street, community to community — we will not be able to take action on the ground,” Zulu said at the relaunch on Friday.
Government must make use of technology to assist women who were in distress so they can be responded to in time.
“It’s not just 16 days of activism – it is 365 days of action,” she said.
Gauteng social development MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said the centre must act as a strategic link between victims and GBV programmes, and advance community involvement to ensure a safer environment.
“The centre will assist us to work collaboratively with government and society to combat GBV and other forms of inhuman behaviour,” Mokgethi said.
Nardos Bekele-Thomas, the coordinator of the UN and resident representative of the UN Development Programme in SA, emphasised the need to restore family values and moral authority. She challenged individuals to play their role towards ending GBV, noting partnerships were critical.
“In every aspect of our lives, we have to question what is our role and the guiding principle of our lives. In these smaller and bigger pieces of the puzzle, we all have our place.”
Bekele-Thomas said the UN would continue to support the initiative to end GBV.
SA Council of Churches general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana performed a candle-lighting ceremony in memory of survivors and victims of GBV, and Covid-19.
Contact the centre’s emergency line on 0800-428-428; “Please call me” *120*7867#; Skype: add ‘Helpme GBV’ to your Skype contacts; and SMS: send “help” to 31531.