Crime Victims Rights Week 2009 .......................................................Back to News

Inter-sectoral Collaboration in KwaZulu-Natal

The KwaZulu-Natal Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) is a very strong inter-sectoral committee that comprises of both government and non-governmental organizations ie. the National Prosecuting Authority, the Department of Social Development, the South African Police Services, the Department of Correctional Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Child Welfare, Department of Education, Department of Community Safety and Liaison, NICRO, Childline, Khulisa, Department of Sports and Recreation, Operation Bobby Bear, Commission for Gender Equality, Big Brothers Big Sisters South Africa, Lifeline/Rape Crisis, the Human Rights Commission, Gay and Lesbian Network, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Christian Social Services, and Legal Aid South Africa.

Prior to the formation of the VEP forum, the DOJ &CD chaired the Victims’ Charter sub-committee, the NPA chaired the Provincial Oversight Committee (POC) and SAPS chaired the Anti-Rape Strategy forum. Three different fora     existed with the same stakeholders and a similar vision. These three fora amalgamated to form the KZNVEP forum which created the platform for all the departments to meet in a single forum to discuss the implementation of their respective legislations.

The VEP Forum is supported by UNODC who have partnered with the Department of Social Development (DSD). The Provincial VEP forum is chaired by DSD and the secretariat is UNODC (for the year 2009). The VEP is an inter-sectoral programme strongly based on building and maintaining partnerships between the Government and non- governmental organisations at national, provincial and local levels. It strives towards developing a deeper knowledge of victim issues, strengthening resources, addressing the needs of victims and stimulating volunteer participants

The main purpose of the VEP is to facilitate the establishment and integration of interdepartmental/inter-sectoral programmes and policies for the support, protection and empowerment of victims of crime violence. Building on this, the VEP’s overall development objective is to contribute to building safe and peaceful communities, strengthening the human rights culture and providing more effective, multi-sectoral, coordinated responses to victims of crime and trauma. Through extensive consultation with the Government, the project aims to: Improve coordination and cooperation between Government departments and civil society organisations (CSO’s) to harmonise services to victims of crime. With the understanding that Victim Empowerment is a cross-cutting theme covering many Government departments on a national and provincial level, the project aims to assist in implementing mechanisms and practices in order to strengthen coordination and cooperation amongst all relevant victim empowerment role players.

The KZN Provincial Victim Empowerment Forum has developed a provincial operational plan. Included in the Provincial plans is the implementation of the Victims’ Charter throughout the Province. In order to implement activities on the provincial operational plan and also to ensure that information from local level reaches the provincial agenda, it was decided to establish Local Victim Empowerment Forums. 

These Local Victim Empowerment Forums are a sub committee of the KZNPVEF and follow the same structure.

The following areas have been identified for the role out of Local Victim Empowerment Forums for 2009:

Durban, Empangeni, Eshowe, Matubatuba, Ladysmith, Estcourt, Newcastle, Vryheid, Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown, Phoenix, Stanger, Umlazi, Port Shepstone, Scottsborough, Kokstad, Greytown, Ixopo, Hlanganani, Ingwavuma, Mahlabathini, and Nongoma.

Various members of the Provincial Victim Empowerment Forum are responsible for facilitating the local forums.

 
Through these LVEP fora, the Victims’ Charter is being implemented throughout the Province.

Working inter-sectorally has resulted in the Provincial VEP forum, facilitating Victim Rights’ Week in KZN. The task team mandated with the planning of Victims’ Rights Week comprised of members of the Provincial VEP forum. They are specifically from DOJ & CD, UNODC, NPA, DSD, DOH and SAPS. 

Facilitating the events for this week could not be achieved without inter-sectoral collaboration. Each member from the various departments had to be prepared to sacrifice their time to make the event a success. Firstly, dates had to be arranged for the planning meetings which were suitable to everyone’s diary- this in itself can be a daunting task if members are not prepared to accommodate each other. The securing of the venue for these meetings was also a challenge due to various factors eg. Availability of boardroom, parking facilities, catering etc. Furthermore, finalizing details regarding the venue for the Victim Rights’ Week event, the target audience, catering requirements and the programme all required the expertise and knowledge from each of the members of the different departments.

The KZN task team was very co-operative in accepting responsibility for different tasks that had to be completed. We were able to each meet our deadlines and to communicate very effectively with each other.     

The provincial event to be held on 15 September 2009 is led by SAPS (National) and the venue for this event was discussed during the Provincial VEP forum. This event will be hosted at Ezingolweni, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. The local event is  planned for the community of KwaMakhutha. This community event will be held on the 16th of September 2009. Each event has a different target audience but the message of Victim Support will be re-iterated during both the events.
 
We are hoping for a successful Victims Rights Week in KZN.

Article prepared by:

Vusi Khoza (UNODC)
KZN Provincial Project Coordinator
Email: vusi.khoza@unodc.org; Tel: 033-264-2068

Asiya Khan( DOJ&CD- KZN Regional Office)
Senior Legal Admin Office
Email: AsKhan@justice.gov.za; Tel: 031-3015303