Minister Fernandez visits Saartjie Baartman centre for abused Women and Children | Western Cape Government


Minister Fernandez visits Saartjie Baartman centre for abused Women and Children

30 November 2020

In commemoration of 16 Days Of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, visited the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children today, 30 November 2020, to gain insights regarding the operational aspects of managing a shelter for abused women and children.

Today’s visit comes shortly after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) and the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) for six National government-owned properties in the Western Cape as safe havens for women and children.

Minster Fernandez said, “I truly am grateful to be here today. For many years, the Saartjie Baartman centre has been at the forefront of providing valuable victim support services to many abused women and children in this Province. There are indeed many lessons that we can take away from this centre and apply to the six new rural shelters scheduled to be operational in the new year.”

Minister Fernandez added, “I also wish to thank Adv. Bernadine Bacher, the Director of the Centre, and her entire team who have been at the frontline of providing support to countless women and children.  Over the past 21 years, the Saartjie Baartman centre has provided victim support services to over 230 000 women and children.

Advocate Bachar, never hesitates to pass on her knowledge and experience in the area of victim support services.”

The Department's Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), renders services to victims of crime and violence, through the provision of shelter services and psych-social support as well as their families, to deal with the impact of the incident, which he/she has experienced. The total budget for Victim Empowerment Services for this financial year is R65m.  

Shelters are residential facilities that accommodate victims of crime and violence, and their children, in a crisis where their safety is at risk. Shelters provide short term intervention for up to 3 months, or longer if the shelter has second stage accommodation available.

The Saartjie Baartman Centre is an innovative shelter that not only provides accommodation for abused women and their children, but also offers counselling, food and shelter, legal aid, skills development, an on-site substance abuse programme and an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre for young children. Mothers are also assisted in placing their children at nearby schools. In turn, the DSD financially supports the shelter’s  substance abuse, ECD and victim empowerment programmes.

Even though the Saartjie Baartman Centre caters for 120 women and children, and is often fully-booked; the centre maintains a policy whereby ‘no woman is turned away’. Once they arrive at the centre, they are provided temporary accommodation and food. They are then assessed in terms of their specific needs and are referred accordingly.

“By working together, we can have #Onevoice united against gender-based violence, 365 days of the year, concluded,” Minister Fernandez.

Contact number and further information:

If anyone requires a social worker or any form of psycho-social support, please contact us on our hotline number on 0800 220 250, to be connected to your nearest local office.

We would also like to remind the public that the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre 0800 428 428 is accessible 24 hours a day, to assist with GBV cases.

We urge the public to access credible information on

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:


Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949