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The National Prosecuting Authority partners with Vodacom and GBVF Respond Fund to unveil GBV care centre in Cradock, Eastern Cape

Friday, 8 March 2024

CRADOCK - 08 MARCH 2024 - In a significant step towards enhancing support for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), the National Prosecuting Authority has partnered with Vodacom South Africa and the GBVF Response Fund to open a Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) at Cradock Hospital in the Eastern Cape. TCCs are a one-stop facility, established as part of South Africa’s strategy to address gender-based violence, reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates, and expedite case finalisation.

The Thuthuzela project is led by the NPA’s Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit (SOCA), in partnership with various departments and donors as a response to the urgent need for an integrated strategy for prevention, response and support for victims of gender-based violence. TCCs offer a holistic approach that allows victims to safely report GBV and receive immediate medical attention and counselling in one location. In this way, victims receive the appropriate support without secondary victimisation. TCC staff also assist survivors in opening a police case, whether immediately or at a later stage, and for cases that proceed to trial, the TCC provides ongoing counselling and court preparation.

“Establishing the TCC at Cradock Hospital demonstrates our commitment to fighting the scourge of GBV in this country through strategic collaboration with the key organs of the state. As part of our pledge to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s GBVF Response Fund, we are partnering with the NPA to implement TCCs across the country. Through these efforts, we continue to empower survivors in safe spaces and contribute to building an inclusive society. Our integrated GBV ecosystem depends on critical partnerships between government, organisations, communities and individuals to enhance efforts in overcoming this societal ill. Only by standing together can we make a lasting meaningful impact in changing lives and eradicating GBV once and for all,” says Sitho Mdlalose, CEO of Vodacom South Africa.

The newly opened Cradock facility is one of 65 TCCs established since 2006, with Vodacom assisting with the building of another centre in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga province. TCCs operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring that survivors have access to care and support whenever they need it.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, National Director Of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Batohi says: “The objective of the Centre is to be a one-stop centre that provides the most comprehensive support and pretrial services (i.e. psycho-social, medical, legal) available to GBV victims in South Africa. At the heart of the model is its focus on minimising secondary victimisation of the victims once entering the system on their journey to becoming survivors. This is achieved through quality trauma containment assistance to victims, forensic medical examinations, the reduction of case cycle periods in the finalisation of the cases and improvement in the conviction rate of these cases.”

Sazini Mojapelo, CEO of the GBVF Response Fund commented: “The pivotal role of funds lies in catalysing the establishment and refurbishment of Thuthuzela Care Centres(TCCs), thereby strengthening the Private-Public Partnership between the  private sector, government and other stakeholders. This collaboration ensures a concerted effort towards the realization of Pillar 3 of the country's National Strategic Plan for Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), which prioritizes the assurance of justice, safety, and protection. Additionally, it aligns with Pillar 4, which is focused on response, care, support, and healing, thereby reinforcing a comprehensive approach to addressing GBVF issues”. 

GBV is a pervasive and urgent issue and it requires a comprehensive and sustained effort from all aspects of society to effect widespread change and combat it. South Africa has one of the highest rates of GBV in the world. According to the country’s latest crime figures, the South African Police Service recorded 12 211 rape cases and 2114 sexual assaults between October and December 2023. Statistically, the majority of these offences were committed at victims’ residences.

Vodacom through its Foundation has made an ongoing commitment to tackling GBV as part of its gender empowerment strategy. Working in partnership with government and civil society organisations, the telco’s GBV ecosystem approach includes prevention and response; and victim support and empowerment. This framework ensures that as a business, Vodacom takes concerted action into overcoming this societal ill while making a sustainable impact on the communities in which we operate. Vodacom’s GBV initiatives include training victims of GBV in the Department of Social Development overseen shelters, psychosocial support in schools, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education,  building Thuthuzela centres in partnership with the NPA for referral of victims of GBV and the Bright Sky SA app, which offers risk assessment and provides information on GBV and support services.

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