SUMMARY: Ramaphosa grilled on COVID-19, corruption and GBV

President Cyril Ramaphosa answered questions on gender-based violence highlighting the importance of the draft Victim Support Services bill. The President hopes the bill will help end the fight against GBV. eNCA's Lindsay Dentlinger is following this story. Courtesy #DStv403

PRETORIA - President Cyril Ramaphosa answered questions from the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

He joined its sitting virtually and gave oral answers to written questions on gender-based violence (GBV), the diplomatic trip taken to Zimbabwe, COVID-19 related corruption, and municipal governance.

Gender-based violence

Ramaphosa said the violence that men perpetrate against the women of South Africa is a crime that affects the entire nation.

The president pointed to the government-identified hotspots where incidents of GBV are highest and said the government is working to give these areas specific attention.

READ: GBV safe houses grapple with lack of funds 

He said government would be looking to strengthen the more direct responses to gender-based violence, namely to provide shelter and support to survivors of GBV so they can escape unsafe environments.

Ramaphosa reported the country has 136 shelters but only 117 are deemed as shelters that have been established.

Forty-five districts and metros have at least one shelter while seven districts have no shelter. 

READ: Education is key to stop GBV - Gauteng Community Safety Dept

In order to address the shortfall, the Department of Public Works Infrastructure has, according to the president, allocated several properties around the country for use as shelters.

The additional properties include four in Tshwane, six in the Western Cape and two in Johannesburg. Additional properties are being assessed in other areas

Ramaphosa promised that the government is working to ensure that there is a model GBV one-stop centre in each of the identified hotspot areas.

The centres are meant to provide multidisciplinary services, including psychological and health support, as well as access to law enforcement. 

ANC/Zanu PF meeting in Zimbabwe

President Ramaphosa explained why he permitted Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to leave South Africa to Zimbabwe on short notice, in contravention of the two-week notice period stipulated in the ministerial handbook.

He said, "it often happens that things happen on an exigency basis."

READ: ANC: We've paid back the money 

Ramaphosa said the security of many countries in the region is challenged and stated his intention to not only silence the guns but prevent them from erupting.

The president said there will be further engagements with Zimbabwe as it is a matter that requires South Africa's attention. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa stated 932 COVID-19 related corruption cases are being investigated by the SIU. Courtesy #DStv403

Corruption

The president stated 932 COVID-19 related corruption cases are being investigated by the SIU. He said 307 of those involve 139 companies and have been referred for possible tax evasion.

Ramaphosa has received two interim reports from the SIU since issuing the proclamation in June and said they will eventually be made public.

READ: Hawks to make COVID-19 corruption-related arrests

The president acknowledged he had promised no corruption would take place at the beginning of the lockdown and said,

"It was my honest wish and hope that there would be no corruption in the procurement of PPE."

He said COVID-19 had a silver lining in that it has galvinised the fight against corruption, saying, "COVID-19 related corruption has emboldened us, given us strength. It's been a cathartic moment to reinforce our resolve to fight corruption."

Municipal governance

The president was questioned on municipal service delivery and financial misconduct.

Ramaphosa said a "back to basics" approach must be taken to service delivery and municipal governance. 

READ: Eskom gets tough on municipal debt

He said an emphasis on training, skills development, and hiring the right people for the right positions would move municipalities and service delivery forward.

The president said a multidisciplinary approach will be taken to make sure the municipalities are better positioned to serve the needs of their residents.

Source
eNCA