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africa|financial|mining|projects|resources|services|sustainable|operations

Minerals Council partners with NPA on GBVF

27th January 2023

     

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The Minerals Council South Africa and its members launched a partnership with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) Response Fund to support gender-based violence response centres in mining communities and labour-sending areas at a time when violence against women and children nationally has increased alarmingly.

The government’s latest crime statistics show double-digit percentage increases in murders, attempted murders and grievous bodily harm assaults against women between July and September this year compared to the same period a year earlier, flagging the urgent need for interventions to reverse the trend in GBVF.

The Minerals Council, the NPA’s Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit and the private-sector led GBVF Response Fund have signed a memorandum of understanding for a partnership to support and work with the NPA’s Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) in communities near mines or in mining and labour-sending areas.

There are more than 60 TCCs in South Africa, mainly located near hospitals, and they offer integrated services of immediate care and counselling for victims, collection of evidence and to ensure that cases are managed with the prosecution process in mind.

Mining companies pledged on Friday to support of the partnership and centres.

The intention of the partnership is to streamline and facilitate the involvement of the mining industry in providing support and resources to TCCs as part of an organised and deliberate contribution to the efforts to provide help to any person, including those in mining communities and labour-sending areas, experiencing gender-based violence.

"Our society is broken, and we must do what we can to provide care to the victims of these terrible crimes and to ensure the perpetrators are arrested and convicted", says Minerals Council president and its Women in Mining Leadership Forum chairperson Nolitha Fakude.

"Many mining companies have programmes and initiatives to address gender-based violence and femicide at their operations, with zero tolerance of these reprehensible acts. However, we realise these matters are a fundamental problem within the societies and communities in which our employees live. This partnership is a way to extend our interventions in GBVF beyond mine gates and assist those most in need," she says.

There is a critical need for protection of the most vulnerable in our society as police crime statistics show. There were 989 women murdered between July and September 2022, a 10% increase year on year, while attempted murders of women rose by the same percentage to 1 277.

Rape cases reported to the police increased by nearly 11% to 10,590 incidents, with many of these happening at the residences of the victims or perpetrators. Sexual assaults increased by 8% to 1 895.

The partnership will be a long-term initiative to facilitate and deliver support and resources to the TCCs. The Minerals Council will actively encourage member companies to provide support to these centres. It will also coordinate partnership opportunities and engage its members on choosing and implementing their chosen projects.

The Minerals Council will employ a dedicated person to oversee its participation in the partnership and to coordinate its members’ participation in the partnership.

Mining companies will actively engage with the centres in their areas, or to sponsor new centres where they are needed.

The NPA will then reach separate agreements with mining companies to implement the partnership opportunity and it will report back twice a year on the status of these projects.

The GBVF Response Fund supports the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on GBVF by raising financial and non-financial resources and directing these resources to high-impact organisations tackling gender-based violence.

The fund will provide advice and strategic guidance to the partnership, assisting in identifying partnership opportunities and providing technical support to mining companies participating in the partnership. At the request of mining companies, the fund will also assist in managing and directing funding in the chosen projects.

"As the GBVF Response Fund, we are grateful to the Minerals Council and its members for their commitment to play a meaningful role in addressing the scourge facing our country. GBVF is entrenched in our society and requires a multiprong and multisectoral approach for its prevention and eradication. In keeping with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 17, we require partnerships to strengthen the implementation of goals for sustainable development," says GBVF Response Fund Chairperson Dr Judy Dlamini.

A partnership advisory board will be set up and comprise two members of the NPA Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit, two from GBVF Response Fund, and eight from the Minerals Council and participating mining companies. The board will meet every quarter to assess projects and partnerships

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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