Thuthuzela Care Centre, an organisation that caters for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, with 54 branches across the country, is facing a financial crisis and this has affected the care and service that is given out to victims.
It has been reported in a media release that the TCC facilities across the country are either without counselling services or are forced to rely on only two or less social workers. The organisation, however, is in such crisis due to the fact that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria are no funding them.
Nonhlanhla Skosana, National Community and Mobilisation manager of the Sonke Gender Justice, said that it was a huge disadvantage to the survivors who were taken in by the centre to not have sufficient access to methods that would assist them in recovering from the appalling experience that victims went through. She further added that funding shouldn’t just come from the government and that the Private Sector should step up in assisting the NGO as its main purpose is crucial to society.
Skosana said that victims received medical assistance and psycho-social assistance, however, the service they received didn’t just run as far as restoring the victim’s well-being and dignity, it also prepared them for court cases in which if they did not receive proper care. Victims could be exposed to potential secondary victimisation, which is when they are exposed to an environment that isn’t supportive or believing that they are actually victims of gender-based violence.
“We live in a country where judges cannot be relied on and a failing justice system, (sic)” said Skosana.
A social worker from the Thuthuzela Care Centre in Butterworth said that in their campus, there were only two social workers that the care centre relied on, as much as they were able to help the victims. She further added that from their sides, it was strenuous which to a certain degree affected how they assisted victims. She said it would be of great assistance if they received more social workers, “everything else is okay, if only the funds matter can be solved then everything else will fall in place, this is not just for us social workers, but for the well-being of the victims”.
Maphuthuma, the national coordinator for Thuthuzela Care Centre, said that in order for organisations to receive funding, it was a matter of applying on time. It is alleged that some organisations failed to submit their requests for funds at the required time, therefore, they did not receive necessary funds.
Most funds come from international organisations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the National AIDS Convention of South Africa, “when sending in requests for money, organisations must briefly explain what the money will be used for” he said.
He further added that mismanagement of funds was the core reason behind organisations not being funded properly (not just Thuthuzela). He stated that organisation leaders tended to take the money that was meant for care centres and increased their own salaries with it, therefore affecting the necessary process of care centres.
It is reported that under former minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini, centres lost funding for counselling services.
Numerous attempts were made in trying to reach the department to ask why the care centres were not being funded as they should be, however, no response was given.
It is estimated that it will cost approximately R31 million to preserve counselling services, this is by NACOSA.
Thuthuzela Care Centre caters for people who are victims of gender-based violence or are survivors of sexual assault. GBV ranges from physical, mental, emotional to economic abuse. They are also linked to sexual offences courts, which are staffed by skilled prosecutors, social workers, magistrates, NGOs and police, and located in close proximity to the centres.
In a media release, it was stated that the Thuthuzela Care Centres play an important role in reducing sexually transmitted diseases and it assists those who are already affected by them. In JHB, half a million adults are living with HIV/Aids from ages ranging from 15-year olds to 50-year olds.
In 2018, during the Presidential Summit against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, Presidential Ramaphosa said: “We cannot, and we will not rest until we have brought those figures down to zero… We want to reach a point where no woman, child or man has to experience the violence, violation, and trauma of rape. There is no acceptable level of gender-based violence. We want to eradicate it.”
He further mentioned that the Thuthuzela Care Centre was an important invention and effective one.