Jane Dimakatso Bambo – South Africa

Date: October 7, 2015
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A leader is always responsible and part of change

I played the role of a champion for gender and against gender-based violence after the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) was established in May 1996. Bolobedu sub-district was declared an area with the highest rate of “social fabric crimes” and violence by the national Department of Safety, Security and Liaison. The National Crime Prevention Strategy demanded that all victims of “social fabric crimes” which were later referred to as “contact crimes” should be protected. Social fabric crimes/contact crimes referred to all the victims of domestic violence, assault common, assault with grievous bodily harm (GBH), sexual abuse and harassment, rape and sexual assault. The first and best VEP pilot project was established in Bolobedu Police Station with all the stakeholder departments from national, provincial, district and local. I was the chairperson of the pilot project committee and the project manager. Faith based organizations (FBOs), non-governmental organisations, the community, traditional leaders and healers, civil society organisations (CSOs) such as United Nation Office on Drugs, Crime and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP) and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), youth organisations, the business sector and the local government constituted the pilot project forum as the NCPS stipulated. The establishment of the project also came as a result of the scientific research which was conducted in the area and I was also part of the research and came up with some of the recommendations especially in establishing a number of projects in phases after the launching of the pilot project as a way of managing and fighting “contact” crime and violence. There was an independent assessor, Dr. Richard Griggs, from the United Nations whose office was in Cape Town (Open Society Foundation). After the launching of the pilot project Dr. Griggs was given the task of travelling around the country to establish whether all the established pilot projects comply with VEP norms and standards as stipulated by the NCPS, 1996. Bolobedu Community Victim Empowerment Initiative was declared the best model in the country and I was referred to as “a VEP Champion”.

My name is Jane Dimakatso Bambo. I live in Flora Park, Polokwane, in Limpopo Province. I am fifty eight years old. I am a professional social worker and am in possession of an MA in Social Work from the University of Limpopo. I have also obtained diplomas in Human Resource Management and Computer Literacy. I received an award for being the best performing student when obtaining a Diploma in Human Resource Management (HRM) cum laude from Business Management Training College of South Africa (BMTC-SA). I also successfully acquired a Post Graduate Research Administration and Development Certificate at the University of Limpopo in 2011. I am presently studying for D.Phil. in social work with the University of Pretoria. Other achievements are certificates in therapeutic work with children, dealing with children who sexually abuse others, advanced treatment for trauma survivors, basic trauma awareness and support, gender-based violence for health professionals and trauma debriefing for children. I also hold qualifications in human trafficking services, play therapy and counseling skills, assessing and treating young sexual offenders, change management, basic principles of economics, and end-user technology. I have advocated, rehabilitated, reintegrated and empowered survivors of gender-based violence since the establishment of the first VEP pilot project in year 2001 to date. I was also part of the ground-breaking initiative of the first Khuseleka One-Stop Centre model established by the Department of Social Development in the country that was officially launched by Minister Bathabile Dlamini in October, 2011. I have achieved many successes through my commitment to the jobs I do both voluntarily and paid. My passion is to restore worth and dignity to all the victims of trauma and violence.

My personal mission statement is “making a difference in victims’ of trauma and GBV’s lives by embracing them unconditionally”.

I am known within the institution, schools, churches, colleges, government departments, NGOs, women’s organisations, municipalities, institutions of higher learning, SABC and community radio stations. Within the institution where I am employed I organise functions such as Women’s Day, 16 Days of Activism on no violence against women and children, Heritage Day and Crime Victim’s Rights weeks. In schools learners are made aware of date rape, child abuse, child pornography, types of rape in terms of the law and human trafficking, especially learners who are about to go to higher learning institutions. They are prepared as to their potential vulnerability, especially during the time when they are looking for space in those institutions. I have been invited to churches to address congregations on gender-based violence and the Domestic Violence Act. Most churches prefer topics such as “Protection Order processes and procedures” and “the new Maintenance Act and how it is applicable. Colleges invite me to graduation ceremonies and also to motivate students at the beginning of the academic year. Government departments invite me to annual calendar events, including World AIDS Day, as it falls within 16 Days of Activism (01 December annually). NGO’s and women’s organisations are mostly addressed on gender, gender-based violence and the gender justice protocol.

I am often invited by the Department of Psychology, University of Limpopo, to address and empower student counsellors on issues of gender and gender-based violence as a way of preparing them for new students’ orientation. Some topics such as “relationships” and confidentiality are emphasised to equip students to be able to handle fresher students’ issues. Since 2001 I have had slots on SABC1 (Relate) where I formed part of further professional assistance on Thobela FM; I featured many times on Capricorn FM programmes, several times on “Tiko a xi etlele” Munghana Lunene and community radio stations on all issues related to gender and gender-based violence. I am also a member of the community policing forum and I am also given some slots to address various sector committees on gender and gender-based violence issues. I am also part of the gender forum which is led by the Capricorn District Municipality (CDM). The negative experiences I encountered in the nature of work I do are resistance to change and dependency.

Mobilisation of resources allocations for work on gender equality:
Amount in Rand Explanation
Gender specific allocation 900 000 Inclusive of everything
Gender in mainstream projects Specification attached
Amount contributed in cash or in kind by partner organisations Nil
TOTAL 900 000

The nature of my work as a social worker has been specifically on gender-based violence since the establishment of the VEP pilot project in the year 2001. Since then, I have devoted both paid and voluntary time to gender and gender-based violence work. I have done this work as my job description since 2001 to date. I am invited to address women and men all over the province in various departments, mostly on weekends. I am also featured on various radio slots, especially at night and very early in the morning before I go to work. Many gender-based violence victims are referred by SABC radio stations both for advice and counseling. I often address women’s leagues over weekends. The community policing forum meetings and functions are in the evenings and during the weekend. This means I devote my time to this work whether paid or not as long as there is a need to perform it. Secondly, my working relationship with all the victims I have assisted does not only end up in the office and/or centre. I keep contact with them in my own time and they are allowed to update me with every progress they make in life. Most of them communicate with me through WhatsApp and SMSs just to catch-up with the progress in their lives. I also do not have any specific time when I attend to survivors whom I have assisted previously and monitor their progress. Some of my negative experiences include:
– the abuse of my contact numbers;
– the use of call me back services;
– calls in the very early morning and very late hours of the day;
– lack of personal time;
– reluctance to work with other colleagues nearby; and
– random referrals by SABC radio stations
(See beneficiaries’ testimonies)

Despite all the negative experiences encountered in my devotion to touch other people’s lives, the family members of those survivors whose lives I have restored really appreciate every effort made. An example is the letter e-mailed by a survivor’s sister (Augusto Roberts) after I followed up with her sister (one of our survivors, Dina Pretorius) after she was discharged from the Khuseleka One-Stop Centre. A self-explanatory letter is attached.

Championing gender has made me realise that gender-based violence involves integrated service delivery work. Every role player, including victims and perpetrators, is important in making the difference needed. The community members are key role players, especially when awareness can be created. A victim is a total being and his/her life needs to be handled in totality to achieve change. Change starts from grassroots up to the national level where support will be in the form of all services including shelter, water, electricity, health, education, and all basic needs for a normal functioning individual.

The change in my life came as a result of people around me who trust me, support me and rely on my positive response. Another factor which contributed to my change is that I am humble when I am delegated to perform an assignment. I also motivated myself to change and perform any given assignment with diligence. Most stakeholder departments, such as SAPS, provided me with undivided support and trust, especially during the first “VEP pilot project” during the “nineties”. Recently the Capricorn District Municipality, Polokwane Municipality, churches, schools, radio stations, community policing forums, women’s organisations, Chapters 1, 9 & 10 institutions such as the Office of the Premier, South African Human Rights Commission and Commission for Gender Equality remind me of the type of champion I am. The Limpopo PhD Support Group, a project initiated by doctoral students (myself included) in Limpopo Province, of which I am the secretary-general, also reflects the type of a leader I am.

The then Area Commissioner of Mopani District “Commissioner Molatelo Raphulu”, in his address said “I have been to various countries in the world, I never came across the word “work” on “work”. I only came across the reality of the word in America. I never thought I will ever meet “work” again in my life. Ladies and gentlemen allow me to proudly announce that today I live with work at my own house and that is Ms. Bambo. Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen Ms. Bambo is “work”. I am proud to be associated with a person of her calibre.” In 2014, the chairperson of the community policing forum, Mr. Metse Mabote, in his gender-based violence presentation, (National Gender Links Summit) indicated that: “In the CPF meetings and awareness campaigns, Ms. Bambo our champion on gender-based violence issues, is always there to empower us together with the community”.

I am employed at Khuseleka One-Stop Centre which forms part of Polokwane Welfare Complex. Polokwane Welfare Complex constitutes many units such as a temporary safe care (place of safety), children’s home, secure care and Khuseleka One-Stop Centre. These four units have support services such as health, transport, kitchen, HRM, corporate, finance, procurement and provisioning, cleaning and labour relations. The staff and management are informed about issues related to gender and gender-based violence, especially when new information is released. Many GBV annual calendar activities or ceremonies are organised at Polokwane Welfare Complex and the staff and management participate and own all the processes from planning to the celebration phase. The recent “16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children” which was celebrated at the Polokwane Welfare Complex bears witness to that. The victims started by painting banners for the occasion and took responsibility for hanging them. Other victims and staff participated in ushering, registering and marshaling. Even during refreshment periods the staff took a lead role in seeing to it that everyone was assisted and satisfied. In the recent celebration of “women against GBV and HIV and AIDS” which was organized by Moletji Community Radio and partners, I organised a bus to ferry thirty five women from the complex and they formed a larger percentage of participants at the occasion. Other women from the same institution drove their own cars to the event. This was appreciated by the organisers. Not only women attend such events, even men from the same institution volunteer to accompany women to such events. They also own such events when they are celebrated at the institution and outside. At the Capricorn District Municipality Gender Justice Summit held in April 2015, I participated in every activity ranging from recruitment, workshops on how to fill in the forms, PowerPoint presentations and judging and I was also on the programme as a partner speaker on service delivery.

A testimonial that was written by the Capricorn District Municipality’s Ms Naledi Masipa, after the successful District Gender Justice Summit held in April 2015, bears evidence on how the change in my life has brought positive change both to my institution and other partner centres of excellence.

There are many successful results which can be attributed to my personal contribution as a leader, but there is a unique success when I rendered the counseling service over the telephone. The devotion to my work generally as a social worker means that everybody, especially those I once worked with, trusts me in whatever service I rendered. In 2006, I had already moved from Bolobedu to work in Polokwane Crisis Centre which gave rise to what is known as Khuseleka One-Stop Centre today. The then station commissioner of Bolobedu police station, Superintendent Christina Bench’s mother was about to undergo a second operation on her spine in Gauteng which initially had not had good results. According to the victim, in the first operation she was expected to be awake and healthy again after six hours. To their surprise she was in a coma for three days and struggled to wake up. When they called me everything was organised including the plane. The previous trauma of waking up after three days instead of six hours made the victim fear for her life, convinced that this time she would not make it. She was hysterically crying even when I was talking to her. After I provided trauma counseling and empowered her, she was positive enough to go ahead with the operation. The following day, the victim’s husband, Boeta Roets, phoned me, very happy to inform me that what happened was a miracle as his wife was awake after five hours instead of six. He wanted to know what I did to his wife Rina and even wrote a letter of appreciation to my manager. The second story was a referral of a young boy of 14 years who was referred by Harnetzburg High School in 2007 after establishing that he and other boys in school were practicing sodomy. I drew a rehabilitation programme for twelve sessions and took him through until the twelve sessions were completed. The impact of the rehabilitation programme assisted the boy to discover his potential and how to channel negative thoughts. The boy was transferred from Harnetzburg High School to Happyday Combined School. He has accumulated football trophies ever since. He passed Grade 12 in 2014. When I wanted to know where he was intending to study and the career he wants to follow he said he wanted to go to the academy to further his football career. These are some of the results that can be linked to my personal contribution as a leader because they were handled by me and I am also still monitoring most of them. There are so many achievements that I have as leader and I attribute this to my commitment to do what I have pledged to do. “Making a difference in victims of trauma and GBV victims’ lives”. See slide 5 means of verification. A self-explanatory letter from Mrs Rina Roets is attached.

My actions have led me to fully participate in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development’s voice of “gender equality by 2015” and “Yes we must and we can”. Since 2001 I have matched the specific targets within articles 20-25 that make provision for the implementation of a variety of strategies such as enacting, reviewing reforming and enforcing laws aimed at eliminating all forms of gender-based violence, and human trafficking. I participated in enacting and adopting legislative provisions to prevent human trafficking and provide holistic services to the victims, with the aim of re-integrating them into society. I enacted legislative provisions, adopted and implemented policies, strategies and programmes which define and prohibit sexual harassment in all spheres, and provided deterrent sanctions for perpetrators of sexual harassment. I dedicated myself and worked very hard in adopting integrated approaches, including institutional cross sector structures, with the aim of reducing current levels of gender-based violence by half by 2015. I still pledge to be part of the yardstick to establish whether indeed there was any reduction of gender-based violence to date.

The supporting and corroborating evidence that proves that my actions have brought change at societal level is when Khuseleka OSC, as an institution where I am employed, achieved so much success in providing shelter for many survivors of crime and violence such as: domestic violence, human trafficking, hate crime such as LGBTI and witch-craft, rape, sexual abuse, protection of drug mules to name a few. In 2012, eight trafficked boys and two females from Zimbabwe namely: Shepherd Maramba, Amos Maramba, Jabulani Rukondo, Benjamin Farai, Farai Rukonde, John Matonhonze, Ernest Gwaimana and July Maumbiwa, Talent and Takalani Musekiwa (females) were treated and successfully repatriated to their country having been empowered with computer literacy and gardening skills. Dina Mapetla who was a learner and drug mule was protected, successfully completed her Grade 12 and is now placed in Knobel Hospital as a pharmacy assistant. In 2013, two ladies from Bloemfontein and kwa-Zulu Natal, Keketso Mathibedi and Asanda Qabani, were recruited through marriage proposals, drugged and made to make money for the trafficker through sex-working activities. They escaped, were admitted to our centre, rehabilitated and successfully transported to their provinces.

The trainings that had an impact where I undertook to build the capacity of others were held in 2004 and 2009 for both SAPS and the Social Development Department (DSD) as custodian and lead departments. It involved training senior management in the South African Police Services on their national circular for the crime prevention division and background information about what led to the establishment of VEPs and how to establish a VEP, et al. The SAPS top management and CPF chairpersons were trained in Polokwane in Limpopo Province. The second empowering workshop was conducted for fifteen social workers gathered at Groothoek Hospital. I addressed all social workers who were rendering services in the Victim Empowerment Centres around Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality. The social workers attended workshops on the advanced Trauma Management Context from an individual level, family, community and society. The two specific workshops bear witness to the job started long ago and the commitment shown in terms of gender-based violence. The SAPS top management officials workshop was held in 2004 and the DSD social workers’ workshop was conducted in 2009. From 2013-2015 I co-organized three phases of entrepreneurship workshops from about 25 survivors of gender-based violence from deep rural areas. Three of them will be part of the entrepreneurship category in the regional SADC Gender Protocol Summit.

After the workshop for top SAPS officials, the then station commissioner, Brig. Mulaudzi, indicated in her closing remarks that “I would like to thank Ms Bambo for removing the burden of being imposed with something (VEP) that we did not know as police officials. Now I can answer some questions when asked about the “what, how, why, who and when” questions related to VEP and the processes in terms of the National Crime Prevention Strategy, the policy framework and the green paper on crime prevention. From now on and henceforth I will support the police station VEP financially and otherwise”. From the workshop that was conducted for the social workers, Ms Moleele-Mabusela, the senior social worker at Groothoek Hospital said: “Sesi Jane thank you very much for enlightening us especially on an advanced trauma management context as we lacked so much knowledge. As from now on we know which route to take. I hope you will always be available in case we are stuck on our daily interaction with the victims of crime and violence”. From the entrepreneurship workshops many businesses emerged and three of the women will participate at the Gender Links summits.

The challenges I faced ranged from resistance to change to dependency. The resistance that I encountered, especially during the establishment of the pilot project, was with some police officers who, because of the lack of information, refuse to attend meetings and take part in activities relating to the establishment of the project. The challenge was overcome when a research book about the pilot project was distributed. Everything was clearly stated including the resistance observed from some of the police officers. The dependency I experienced was with one of the managers who constantly asked me “what is the Crisis Centre?” and “what is gender-based violence?” The challenge was overcome when I requested him as a manager to handle the same in one of our “16 Days of Activism Against Crime and Violence on Women and Children”. He was then compelled to research more about the subject. He finally allowed all the social workers from the entire four units to attend a workshop which was organised by the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD). After the workshop he arranged information sharing with top management for the complex. Attached is a testimonial written by him. The lessons I learned from all these challenges is that “perseverance is the mother of success” and “hard work pays”.

My future plans are to commit myself to enacting and enforcing legislation prohibiting all forms of gender-based violence by ensuring that laws on gender-based violence, human trafficking, hate crimes provide for the comprehensive testing, treatment and care of survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking, hate crimes and both manmade and natural disasters.

Steps include forming part of reviewing and reforming criminal laws and procedures applicable to sexual offences and gender-based cases and enacting and adopting specific legislative provisions to implement policies, strategies and programmes to prevent human trafficking, define and prohibit sexual harassment in all spheres, re-integrate them into society and provide deterrent sanctions for perpetrators of sexual harassment.

We need to deliver an integrated service delivery approach with cross sector structure institutions with the aim of preventing, reducing, monitoring and evaluating as to whether we have managed to halve the current levels of gender-based violence within the 2015 timeframes as stipulated during the adoption of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. ALUTA CONTINUA!!!!!!!!!!!!


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