De Beers Group this week announced a $200,000 donation across its four producer partner countries of Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa to assist women’s shelters and support organisations to respond to an increase in gender-based violence resulting from the COVID-19 situation.
The donation will be split equally across Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. It adds to the contributions De Beers Group has already announced in its host countries to support the COVID-19 response, which exceeds $5 million across monetary and in-kind support, spanning the procurement of medical supplies, logistical support, vulnerability assessment support plans, food security for vulnerable households, water supply to communities, COVID-19 awareness and education, and local clinical support.
As lockdown and social distancing measures introduced around the world exacerbate the risk of gender-based violence, there has been a global increase in cases reported, including in the countries in which De Beers Group operates.
With some gender-based violence support services currently closed, and those that remain open under increasing demand, De Beers Group’s funding will support the capacity of women’s shelters and organisations in host communities to meet the increase in immediate needs, as well as beyond lockdown periods. De Beers Group is working with local stakeholders in each country, including its long-term partner, UN Women, to tailor an approach that is appropriate to local contexts.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group and UN Women HeForShe Thematic Champion, said: “As the world faces unprecedented health and economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 virus, many women and children are also being exposed to a significantly increased risk of gender-based violence, while having limited ability to access support services and finding those services are under extreme pressure.
“De Beers Group has a longstanding commitment to support women and girls in the communities where we operate, and right now many need this support more than ever. The funding we are providing will assist women’s support organisations to continue delivering critical services to survivors of gender-based violence during the current situation, and help protect against it in the future.”
In addition to the contributions De Beers Group is making as a business to support its host countries and communities, Mr Cleaver will donate 30 per cent of his salary over the next three months to charitable organisations supporting vulnerable people in southern Africa.
Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office, said: “As economic and social pressures and fear have grown over recent weeks, we have seen a significant and deeply concerning surge in domestic violence throughout the world, what UN Women has termed the ‘Shadow Pandemic’, that is already being felt in Southern Africa with calls of distress from women more than doubling. Current restrictions on movement – locking women in with their violent intimate partners – is exacerbating the situation, so we must ensure women can continue to access essential support services safely as we work to beat COVID-19.”
In southern Africa, De Beers Group and UN Women are identifying key funding priority areas through a holistic emergency pathway approach that ensures support is safely accessible to those who need it from escaping abuse through to recovery. Support may be in the form of transportation, accommodation, basic supplies, counselling or a combination thereof. In Canada, the funding will support four shelters in the communities surrounding De Beers Group’s Gahcho Kué and Victor operations.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.