Statement by the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille 16 Days of Activism is good, pledging 365 Days of Activism is best Another year has passed and again we find ourselves reflecting on what we have done and what still needs to be done in our various capacities to assist women and children who are experiencing violence and abuse. At the City of Cape Town, we believe that while 16 Days of Activism is good, pledging 365 Days of Activism is best. We all have a role to play – organisations, schools, religious institutions, communities and individual residents – if we are to truly make a sustainable and positive impact in ending the cycle of abuse that too many of our city’s women and children face. As part of our commitment to building a caring city, we recognise that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing the abuse and violence against women and children. A coordinated effort is needed among our various City directorates to support this campaign all year round, to help create a safer city in which our women and children are able to reach their full potential. During this year, we have embarked on the following: Social Development The Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate focuses on measures aimed at preventing some of the social ills prevalent in our society. These include life skills training through programmes such as the Strengthening Families Project and the Local Networks of Care which are established to assist the vulnerable and those at risk who are living on the street and/or dealing with substance abuse. The department has employed staff via the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to conduct a door-to-door survey on domestic violence and the aim is to roll out more EPWP programmes around social care, substance abuse and domestic violence. City Health Women are able to access and receive free health care services such as pap smears, HIV/Aids tests, as well as counselling and family planning advice. Selected clinics also offer TB screening and medication to adults and children. City Health runs Matrix clinics that offer free treatment for those dealing with alcohol and drug abuse – factors that often lead to the violence experienced in families and communities. Safety and Security The City of Cape Town has a dedicated Vice Squad tasked with clamping down on human trafficking and prostitution. Recently, the Vice Squad teamed up with the Hawks to rescue three young women from a suspected brothel in Parklands. The City further recognises that there is a direct link between violence against women and children and substance abuse. To this end, Metro Police engage in ongoing search and seizure operations, in conjunction with the South African Police Services. Safety and Security has also driven the City’s Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) project. VPUU aims not only to reduce crime and increase safety levels but to also upgrade neighbourhoods, improve social standards, and introduce sustainable community projects to empower local residents. It is being implemented in Khayelitsha, Hanover Park, Manenberg, Nyanga and Gugulethu. Community Services In the past year, City Parks has upgraded a number of parks across the Cape Metropole to create safe spaces for communities to enjoy such as the Surran Road Park in Hanover Park. Before the upgrade, the area was known as a hive of criminal activity that left residents feeling unsafe. Today, this space is used by all age groups for recreational purposes. Libraries around the city have hosted numerous adult literacy programmes and computer literacy programmes throughout the year, empowering both men and women with vital life skills. The City’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department has partnered with Western Province Rugby to promote the game amongst young women aged 13 to 18, instilling confidence in the participants and equipping them with key decision-making and leadership skills that are crucial to making positive life choices. The Department is also running community wellness programmes in community halls across the city where women of all ages are offered aerobics, yoga and dance classes focused on keeping them fit and healthy. Human Settlements Over the past few years the City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements Directorate has run a housing consumer education programme in areas like Atlantis, Ocean View, Blackheath, Grassy Park, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Brown’s Farm, where new housing projects are situated. Nearly 5 000 beneficiaries, many of whom are women heading their households, have been trained in the programme. The programme covers topics such as title deeds, insurance, budgets, and home maintenance, etc. This information is critical in empowering women (especially single mothers who are heading up households) and helping them cope with the steep demands of day-to-day living. By empowering woman with this sort of education, we hope to instil confidence and independence in these remarkable women to care for their families daily and realise a healthy and secure future for themselves. The City of Cape Town wishes to thank individuals and organisations for caring and assisting vulnerable women and children to feel loved, regain their dignity, and be empowered. The need is great and therefore the support has to be even greater. Let us make it our responsibility to work together, as communities and government, to care and protect our women and children for 365 days a year.