African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP, Marie Sukers, said on Thursday that she was “exasperated” at government’s procrastination in signing the Special Needs Housing Policy (SNHP)

The policy provides for capital grants to well established NPOs to acquire and maintain “safe houses”. The draft policy was developed in 2015.

“The ACDP notes one of the key factors contributing to fatality in domestic abuse is lack of safe housing as an escape route for women and children. Many women are caught in a cycle of abuse with no safety net or support network to assist their leaving toxic relationships for them and their children to reshape their lives,” Sukers said via a statement.

She said that during his televised national address on Wednesday night, president Cyril Ramaphosa referred to South Africa as being in a “war” and “a gender-based violence epidemic”, and that the signature of human settlements minister, Lindiwe Sisulu on the SHNP bill could make a massive difference to the lives of abused women and children.

“The policy and implementations are ready for sign-off. Stakeholders are ready to go and many even have the funds,” said the MP.

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Sukers said that she had sent questions about the bill to Sisulu, and that in her reply, the minister said that consultations for the SNHP process were scheduled for 19 March, but had to be postponed because of South Africa’s Covid-19 outbreak.

But the lockdown was not declared until over a week later, said Sukers, and with the new culture of virtual meetings, consultations could have taken place since.

She said the ACDP would be watching “closely” to ensure that the minister was taking steps to put the policy in place timeously.

“We again implore the president to pressurise the minister to co-ordinate and get the SNHP signed off,” she said.

Author: ANA Newswire