Source: All Africa

The Portfolio Committee on Women has called on households to stand together and help each other, especially women, children and disabled people who remain vulnerable to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) during the 21-day lockdown period.

"The potential of increase in incidents of gender-based violence and femicide is a reality we cannot ignore during these times with people confined to their homes, anxiety and stress levels increased and boredom," said Committee Chairperson on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Nonhlanhla Ncube-Ndaba.

The Committee commended government for its swift action implemented across various sectors in a bid to deal with COVID-19, noting that the Coronavirus is a human crisis.

Understanding the economic impact of this pandemic on South Africa and globally, Ncube-Ndaba said government's intervention stimulus package for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME's) will contribute to maintaining businesses.

She said the committee has encouraged young entrepreneurs, female-owned businesses and persons with disabilities with SMMEs to investigate how to access assistance from the government.

"The committee is acutely aware that the low-end paid workforce is dominated by women and youth, be it in domestic work, in the construction industry, retail and sales, to name a few. 

"Furthermore, the committee is aware of the implications of the lockdown for millions of households across the country. The burden of care to attend to children, the elderly and persons with disabilities within a household cannot be placed only on women and girls, as we are all affected," Ncube-Ndaba said. 

The Committee applauded non-governmental organisations that continue to render services to victims of GBVF, be it remotely.

The Committee also urged employees to abide by the provisions outlined in the country's labour laws, in terms of their conditions of employment, in order to benefit from governments intervention for their families who depend on them to survive.

It further commended all workers in essential services, who will continue working through the lockdown, and encouraged others to do their bit by staying at home.

The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre will remain operational and can be accessed by calling 0800 428 428 and has a Skype Line (add "Helpme GBV" to your Skype contacts) and "Please Call Me" facility on *120*7867#.

An SMS based line is also available on 31531.

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