A significant area of ODAC's activities is parliamentary lobbying for the pursuit of improving the transparency environment, particularly within South Africa. While originally our mandate was to work on the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the Protected Disclosures Act and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, it soon became apparent that for an effective intervention that improves transparency as a whole, we would need to focus on broader threats to transparency that may arise from laws outside those three.
Case Study: Victim Empowerement (VEP) – Road to Justice
ODAC, alongside the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and the Women’s Legal Centre are spear-heading a campaign for the adoption of a Victim Empowerment Legislation in South Africa. The Rape Crisis conducted a feasibility study on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme to consult with sector stakeholders and the South African Treasury on the feasibility of a Victims Empowerment Legislative Act.
The study assessed the cost-benefit propositions of services to victims of crime, proposed a strategy for mobilizing support of government and parliamentary stakeholders to adopt such an Act. It is postulated that one of the major problems encountered by the different governmental departments working on victim empowerment (VE) is that victims-related legislative and policy provisions are scattered in a range of different legislations and policy documents. At present, there is no comprehensive legislation that specifically targets and addresses the specific needs of victims of crime. The existence of a single or explicit line budget for implementation of victim-related services as an effective mechanism for coordination support to victims of crime also doesn’t exist.
Flowing from the findings in this study, we have decided to take the initiative to launch a campaign for the adoption of this legislation. To achieve this, we have identified a number of key stakeholders that will constitute the core group of the campaign. A strategy planning meeting in Cape Town is proposed to bring all these stakeholders together to develop a suitable approach.