DA launches LGBTIQ+ safe spaces project in KZN


The DA in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has launched a safe spaces project for LGBTIQ+ people in the province, involving councillors’ offices.

According to a statement, the initiative is in response to the EThekwini Municipality “failing on its mandate to provide a space where all people can safely engage with the city.”

The DA said: “Many clinics and other government offices turn people away or discriminate them because of their sexuality. Furthermore, members of the LGBTIQ community are not always sure where to access supportive services.”

The Safe Space project aims to create safe spaces, through the use of selected councillors’ offices. Members of the LGBTIQ community are urged to bring their service delivery concerns to these councillors who have been trained to be able to deal with such matters.

DA KZN Premier Candidate and Provincial Leader Zwakele Mncwango was set to be the guest speaker at the launch on Wednesday but fell ill and was unable to attend. Chairperson for the DA Pride group in KZN, Councillor Caelee Laing, said that Mncwango has committed to two other upcoming launches in other areas of KZN and apologised profusely for not being able to attend.

Councillor Martin Meyer explained that the initiative had been in the pipeline for a few months and that DA councillors from all over the province have offered their offices to the project.

“The Safe Spaces initiative is our way of assisting the LGBTIQ community to get the help that they need. We will not be counselling these residents but we are there to listen, to provide a safe space and to direct them to the NGOs that can assist,” he said.

“We want any person living in eThekwini to feel comfortable to approach any of our councillors and feel that we represent all of them regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or religion,” added Caucus Leader, Councillor Nicole Graham.

The councillors who have offered their offices as safe spaces attended the launch and announced where each office is situated and the areas they cover. For these initial Safe Space offices, a number of central and accessible offices have been identified. These are situated in Amanzimtoti, The Bluff, Westville, Pinetown, Overport, Glenwood, Phoenix and Chatsworth, and serve the surrounding areas.

For more information, contact Councillor Laing on caeleelaing@yahoo.com.

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