Friday, 05 February 2021

Pretoria: President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched a private sector-led, multi-sectoral Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Response Fund aimed at supporting the implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP), and the wider response in the country.

The response fund is a fulfilment of a resolution of the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Declaration which followed the GBVF Summit held in 2018.

The summit brought together government, civil society and other role players in an effort to find lasting interventions to end GBVF.

The declaration endorsed President Ramaphosa’s call to all South Africans, including the private sector to respond to gender-based violence (GBV), and to allocate the resources required for a national strategy.

Progress made

Speaking at Thursday’s virtual launch, the President noted that whilst it has been a challenging year in which many of the priorities set by government for its term of office have had to take a back seat as the country responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, government has nevertheless made progress.

Progress has been made in a number of areas relating to gender-based violence and the financial inclusion of women.

“We convened a successful webinar on the ratification of [the] International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on ending violence and harassment in the workplace, we joined the United Nations (UN’s) Generation Equality Forum and participated in advocacy around GBV and women’s financial inclusion.

“We also lobbied for gender-responsive trade policies to be developed as part of the African Continental Free Trade Area. As a country, South Africa has adopted a policy of 40% preferential public procurement for women-owned enterprises, and we are promoting a minimum target of 30% for the region.”

He said the launch of GBVF Response Fund is testament to the strength and power of social partnership.

“It has been a long and challenging road, but we have laid the cornerstone. This is just the beginning, and we are confident that the pledging process will continue into this year, as more of our partners in the private sector and international philanthropies come on board,” said President Ramaphosa.

He added that the business and donor communities have been the country’s dependable developmental partners since the advent of democracy.

“I am keenly aware that you have many competing demands on your money, especially during the pandemic. This is about so much more than philanthropy or corporate social responsibility… it is about making a solid investment in a South Africa that is truly egalitarian, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, prosperous and free,” President Ramaphosa said.

Objectives and pledges

The fund has the following objectives:

  • It is a vehicle for private sector contributions;
  • Resources for the implementation of the NSP;
  • Provide the necessary programming and financial infrastructure;
  • Robust accountability and governance for private sector funds;
  • Facilitate operational and strategic cohesion between donors and government; and
  • Technical support for efficient and effective delivery of programme.

During the launch, business and donor communities commended President Ramaphosa for supporting effort to end GBVF. They also pledged some millions to the fund.

These included a R30 million contribution by Anglo-American, R20 million by ABSA Bank, and a R20 million contribution by the Ford Foundation.