Department of Community Safety Hosts Women’s Month Outreach Programme
On Saturday 26 August 2017, Premier Helen Zille, and provincial Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato hosted the Department of Community Safety’s Women’s Month outreach programme in Athlone. The event was held in partnership with the local South African Police Service (SAPS), Community Policing Forum (CPF), Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs), City of Cape Town, Law Enforcement, Religious Leaders, local Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs), and the South African Human Rights Commission.
The Community Safety Department has facilitated interactions with women from more than 30 different communities so far this month, under the theme “Women Speak Out”. The outreach programme has focused on the role of women in creating safer environments, and the support available from government departments and NGO’s.
Premier Zille addressed the crowd and emphasized how important it is that families play a role in safeguarding the most vulnerable in society. “Throughout women’s month, our government has been leading a conversation with communities on what needs to be done to create safe, empowering environments. Recent incidents of violent crime against women and children clearly point to a trend of perpetrators who are either known or trusted by the victim or relatives. We need to talk about this as a society,” Premier Zille said.
Minister Plato believes that Women’s Month must go beyond the celebration of women. We need to have open and honest conversations about the problems in our communities that contribute to violence and abuse of women and children. “The abduction, raping, killing and dumping of children, specifically young girls and babies, is of major concern to our department. It is a concern we share with police, NGOs and the general public. Men must also understand their responsibility in the safety of women and children. In most interpersonal violence cases, the perpetrator and victim knew each other - a friend, neighbour, boyfriend or even a family member. The problem for law enforcement authorities is: how do you police what is happening inside people’s homes? We have to speak out about that which is wrong in our own homes – abuse, drugs, guns. If you keep quiet about what is wrong, you are actually agreeing with it.”
The event in Athlone included community members from Mitchell’s Plain, Elsies river, Steenberg, Lavender Hill, Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Delft, Wesbank, Uitsig, Ravensmead, Belhar, Vahalla Park, Bishop Lavis, Kalksteenfontein, Bonteheuwel, Manenberg,
Hanover Park and surrounds.
Local women were also honoured as pillars of courage, hope and strength in their respective communities.