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JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE ON IMPROVEMENT OF QUALITY OF LIFE AND STATUS OF WOMEN
16 May 2001
LEGISLATIVE PROCESS WORKSHOP; FINALISATION OF PLAN OF ACTION, NONGOMA ISSUE REPORT
Report on Rural Women's Workshop in Nongoma (see Appendix)
The Committee was addressed by the Public Participation Unit on the forthcoming Workshop on Engaging Women in Legislative Processes and Activities.
The Chairperson gave feedback on developments on the Nongoma issue.
The Committee agreed on the proposed draft plan.
Workshop on Public Participation
Ms.Linda Rhoda and Ms.Joy Watson from the Public Participation Unit addressed the committee on a proposed workshop: the Consultative Meeting on Engaging Women In Legislative Processes and Activities to be held on the 7 and 8 June 2001. The goal of this workshop is to inform NGOs and other interested bodies involved with gender issues on how to engage with the legislative process.
In response to whom was to be invited, the representatives from the Public Participation Unit said that they were doing research on persons to be invited. They intended to invite organizations doing gender related work, and who are involved in the legislative process. The list would include Parliamentary Members from the national level and Members of the Provincial Legislature.
Another member wanted to know about broadening accessibility to the conference such as funding people who do not have the means to come. The representatives from the Public Participation Unit explained that they hoped to invite organizations that served constituencies, where information was passed down, as compared to individuals. Also, they had funding to invite 30 delegates and fund them for transport and accommodation. In total, 200 participants are envisaged, the idea is to cover different provinces.
An ANC member suggested that they use constituency offices to advertise the conference thus notice of the conference would reach the different provinces.
An ANC member asked how the group of 30 people would be allocated. The representatives from the Public Participation Unit suggested that a working committee be set up to decide on this.
Plan Of Action
The Chairperson tabled the draft plan of action for the following weeks. The members agreed to the plan.
Report- Back on The Nongoma Issue
Ms Themba informed the Committee that a statement was read out at a National Council of Provinces plenary session and that the Speaker of the National Assembly would make a statement in the National Assembly. A motion would be tabled and a snap debate would take place.
The Chairperson said that the Chief Whip of the ANC stated that the Premier of Kwa-Zulu Natal should be brought in on the issue.
Ms.Vilakazi (IFP) supported this, saying that the provinces should be involved. She stated that what had happened was a nasty incident and as members of Parliament, they should be accepted warmly in the region.
A member of the opposition supported the ANC Chief Whip and agreed that the National Assembly must take the matter forward.
The meeting was adjourned.
extract from: Report on Rural Women's Workshop in Nongoma
The workshop in Nongoma constitutes part of the Rural Women's Project which was implemented in the time period 17 April - 4 May in Mpumalanga, Northern Province, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. This project is a joint project of the PPU and Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women. The objectives of the project were as follows:
Â· to create an understanding amongst a sample of rural women of democracy in relation to participating in democratic processes;
Â· to generate an understanding of Parliament and the law making process;
Â· to generate an understanding of how to get involved in legislative processes;
Â· to obtain submissions on how women have experienced the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act;
Â· to obtain submissions on legislative needs with respect to issues of inheritance and succession.
A total of twenty four workshops have been conducted, with an estimated outreach to approximately 960 participants. All the workshops have taken place without incident, with the exception of the one in Nongoma.
Summary of what transpired at the Nongoma Workshop
Â· Approximately 25 participants had gathered for the workshop in the morning and a further 25 were being awaited. A total of four Members of Parliament were in attendance (Ms Vilakazi - IFP, Ms B Thompson - ANC, Prince Z Zulu - ANC, B Ntuli - ANC). Three MPLs were also in attendance (Ms Mohlaka - IFP, Ms P Nkonyeni - ANC, Dr Roopnarain - IFP). The MPLS present had been delegated by the Provincial Speaker. The Speaker and Mayor were also expected to attend for a short while. PPU had one staff member in attendance.
Â· The workshop had not yet started when approximately 30 men armed with traditional weapons entered and ordered that that the workshop disband as "local IFP leadership" had not been consulted. The men were led by a Mr Mtimande.
Â· Participants were chased, people were intimidated and strong language was used.
Â· Training materials were confiscated and the men threatened to burn materials.
Â· The attendance register was confiscated.
Â· The gates were closed and guarded and MPs, MPLs, the service provider and PPU staff member were prevented from leaving the premises.
Â· MPs, MPLs and the PPU staff member were threatened and accused of campaigning for the ANC.
Â· It appears that the men took serious objection to the fact that Prince Zeblon Zulu was in attendance as they allege that he is implicated in the murder of the previous Mayor.
Â· The men would not entertain discussion/ negotiations on the grounds that they "would not listen to women'.
Â· One of the Members managed to escape and alert the police who came to the rescue and escorted members and staff out of the area.
Â· The situation was very tense and the PPU staff member has indicated that she feared for her life.
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