The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Honorable Des van Rooyen addressed the Women’s Commission National Legotla today (13 July 2016) at Premier Hotel in Kempton Park. The Minister congratulated the SALGA Women’s Commission for spearheading the 50/50 campaign for the 2016 Local Government Elections.
We are standing at the cusp of history as we are about to hold yet another successful local government. This election is an opportunity for all of us to come together and move the country forward to an effective and efficient local government.
Minister expressed his appreciation for the role that the Women’s Commission undertook the provide leadership on key issues in this important sector since its formation in 2010. “We are encouraged by your resolve and the contribution you have made in profiling women’s rights even at local government”, said Minister van Rooyen.
South Africa will next month celebrate an important milestone in the process of ensuring the recognition of woman’s rights. This year, 2016 we are encouraged and motivated to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings. This march contributed immensely to the progress we are seeing today, hence we salute those stalwarts who participated in that life changing activity. The march also contributed to turning around the tide against apartheid. We therefore remember this gallant actions and efforts as they and many others before laid the foundation of the struggle that as government and other key stakeholders we are have continued wage and thereby contributing to the positive fruits we are seeing today”, said Minister van Rooyen.
The Minister remembered the most important words uttered by the founding father of our democracy, the late former President Nelson Mandela at the opening of the first democratic parliament on 24 May 1994, when he said: “It is vitally important that all structures of Government, including the President himself, should understand this fully that freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.” This commitment that was outlined by the former President still permeates and dictates our efforts towards achieving the 50/50 representation in all sectors of our society.
To this effect, the Minister expressed his appreciation that this important meeting is taking place during the month when we remember the selfless actions of our world icon during the international Mandela day. This recognition is important to propel us to mobilise woman in communities to take leadership in influencing municipalities to provide sustainable and affordable basic services.
The Minister indicated that after the local government elections, all incoming councilors should receive training on gender awareness. “Our municipal councils should consider educating communities on issues of patriarchy, gender discrimination and gender-based violence. Cities do not only provide basic services to citizens, but also promote economic growth. More importantly, our efforts must produce the next generation of women leaders,” said Minister van Rooyen.
The recently Cabinet approved Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) formalises measures in working towards spatial transformation that will also benefit women. Among the objectives of the IUDF is promoting Spatial Integration through creating new urban forms where the cost and time spent on travelling is reduced as people stay closer to their work places. The Minister says the attainment of such a vision is that women can have time to spend with their families and thereby improving their quality of life and for the rest of the families.
He promised that his department will work with the Commission to ensure that municipalities are implementing middle management development programmes focusing on preparing women for senior manager positions. According the Minister, CoGTA is also committed to transforming the local government sphere towards non-sexism that includes the promotion and protection of human dignity and human rights of women.
The Minister urged municipalities to have a gender focal point using their own budget and sufficient human resources capacity to fulfil their goals. He advised that Women’s forums must be established at ward level and they must attend Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meetings, and be provided with a platform to make meaningful inputs. The set of guidelines with indicators and targets should be developed to monitor the implementation of policies relating to women empowerment in local government.
“I hope that the conference will identify more innovative means through which women can be involved in the local government sphere”, said Minister van Rooyen.