Searching for a safe house

Stephen Langman established the Honeybun Foundation in 2014.

The Honeybun Foundation is searching for a property from which to run a safe house for women and children.

Provincial Department of Social Development spokesman Joshua Chigome says 17 933 women in the province received psychological social care and support due to domestic violence during 2021, and 4 800 children were reported to be victims of abuse or neglect during this time.

Speaking from a tiny office attached the front of his parents’ home in Plumstead, Stephen Langman said he established the Honeybun Foundation in 2014 after matriculating from Bergvliet High School.

Mr Langman ran his own coffee shop in Observatory while also operating a safe house in Salt River. The shop’s lease expired coinciding with Covid and put an end to his job. At the same time, funding for the foundation took strain. Mr Langman now runs the foundation, a registered non-profit organisation, full time to raise money.

He was closing the safe house in Salt River because the house mother had cancer and he could not afford to operate it, he said.

In June, he began the process of trying to acquire one of the City’s vacant properties to lease, but so far he has been unsuccessful.

Mr Langman also spoke to ward councillor Carmen Siebritz who suggested he contact the City’s community services directorate and the provincial Department of Social Development.

Ms Siebritz said there was a need for safe houses servicing both the southern suburbs and the Cape Flats.

“According to my knowledge, there are not many in the southern suburbs and therefore having the Honeybun Foundation in Ward 63 is appreciated and welcomed.”

Mr Chigome said Mr Langman should approach the City of Cape Town and the councillor about a suitable property. The building should have the correct zoning and meet the necessary health, safety and building-code requirements.

The department was already funding a safe house in the area and did not intend funding more and yet there was a need for such services across the province, Mr Chigome said.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross said that providing shelter for victims of gender violence was not a local government competency, but the City did assist registered, qualifying NPOs through grant-in-aid funding, rebates, etc.

City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said Mr Langman had been advised in December to contact the property management department (PMI) to register to lease a property. According to department’s records, there was no application from the foundation, he said.

Mr Langman said the foundation had contacted PMI. “They said that we, as the NPO, needed to prove that we had a stable income of R12 000 per month. We do not have that coming in as donations. We were then told we could go to our local housing offices and apply for low-cost housing.”