by Rebecca Davis in Daily Maverick
““Given the epidemic proportions of violence against women in South Africa, it is an indictment of government’s attitude towards services for rape survivors that Rape Crisis has had to retrench all its staff – especially because Rape Crisis provides the very services that government itself is responsible for, but fails to provide effectively,” the Women’s Legal Centre’s Sanja Bornman, told the Daily Maverick. “The state should have stepped in and provided emergency funding. Civil society is fed up with the irrational funding practices of government and the National Lottery.”
The Western Cape department of social development did not respond to the Daily Maverick’s request for comment on the matter, but in November last year spokeswoman Melany Kuhn told the New Age that the department had to weigh Rape Crisis’s applications for funds against those of the 1,902 other NGOs in the province that the department also funded with a budget of R628-million. This year the department continued to support Rape Crisis, but the funding provision was cut by about a third.
When it comes to government funding, Rape Crisis director Dey says the problem is partly that it’s difficult to get reliable statistics on violence against women, therefore budgets are set unrealistically low.
“But the main question is: who will take responsibility for funding the kinds of services provided by Rape Crisis, the Saartjie Baartman Centre and so on?” Dey asked.
She said the reason the government provides funding for these NGOs in the first place is because of the “unspoken contract” which holds that they have expertise and resources to provide services that the government cannot – so government essentially contracts them to fill the gap. ”
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