The Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities commends the government for its swift action, implemented across the various sectors, in a bid to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus is a humanitarian crisis. Understanding the economic impact of this pandemic, on South Africa and globally, the government’s intervention stimulus package for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME’s) will contribute to maintaining businesses.
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.
The committee urges 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.
Committee Chairperson Ms Nonhlanhla Ncube-Ndaba said: “We commend all those workers in essential services, who will continue working through the lockdown. Let us do our bit by staying at home.”
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.
The committee calls on households to stand together and help each other. More so now than ever during this time, women, children and persons with disabilities remain vulnerable to gender-based violence and femicide. This may be amplified in cases where they remain with their abusers in a confined space. “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 Ms Ncube-Ndaba.
The committee applauds non-governmental organisations that continue to render services to victims of GBVF, be it remotely.
The committee reiterates government’s call to stay at home, wash your hands and pray for the nation in order to help deal with the pandemic.
The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre will remain operational and can be accessed by calling 0800 428 428.