Sonke Gender Justice (“Sonke”) welcomes the creation of the new Ministry of Women and its location in the Office of the Presidency. We support Minister Susan Shabangu’s commitment, as stated in her 16 July speech on the budget vote,to improving monitoring and evaluation and gender-responsive budgeting.
During this time of transition, we urge the Minister to prioritise the development of the country’s first National Strategic Plan (NSP) on Gender-Based Violence (GBV). We encourage Minister Shabangu to build on the recent momentum left by the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities under the banner of the National Council on Gender-Based Violence in this process, and to make this her top priority for the remainder of 2014.
Along with 19 other civil society organizations, Sonke has signed and sent a letter to Minister Shabangu, urging her to carry this process forward. We’ve also called on Finance Minister Nene to increase the engagement of the Ministry of Finance in the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and in the development of the National Strategic Plan on GBV.
The budget request of R198.3 million, including R63 million for Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), is unfortunately quite small to fully pursue the Minister’s agenda, and we hope that the development of a comprehensive multisectoral NSP on GBV is given sufficient resources and priority.
Sonke appreciates the Minister’s comment that this limited budget “continues to pose limitations in fulfilling the mandate of this department,” and supports the urgent development of a fully-costed National Strategic Plan on GBV as essential to properly addressing gender-based violence and to ensuring the necessary resources are allocated to address both the structural and societal barriers and challenges to women’s empowerment and well-being in South Africa.
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Sonke Gender Justice
Head of Policy Development and Advocacy