Hansard: Debate on International Women's Day: Equal Rights For All, Equal Opportunities For All
House: Joint (NA + NCOP)
Date of Meeting: 08 Mar 2010
No summary available.
Tuesday, 9 March 2010 Takes: 74 & 75
TUESDAY, 9 MARCH 2010
PROCEEDINGS OF JOINT SITTING
Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 14:01.
The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
DEBATE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL, EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Chairperson, hon leaders of government, different Ministers, hon leaders of parties present here, comrades, ladies and gentlemen, as we mark this year's anniversary of International Women's Day, the year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of International Women's Day in 1910.
The celebration this year coincides with the high-level 54th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women currently being held at the UN headquarters in New York. This year, our delegation from South Africa is being led by the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Minister Mayende‑Sibiya. It marks the 15th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women and we are only left with five years to the target date of achieving our Millennium Development Goals.
We are pleased that this joint debate has been arranged to mark this very important day to give South Africans across the political spectrum the space to reflect on the challenges facing us in relation to the unequal position of women in South African society.
As South African women, we will also be celebrating hosting the 2010 World Cup. This gives an opportunity to showcase our enormous achievements, yet we must also use this opportunity to reflect on the gaps that exist between the achievements and the persistent inequalities in our country that fundamentally affect the poor and, in particular, women.
As women from the ruling party, we want to join the global community, particularly the women of the world, in commemorating this year's International Women's Day. The theme for this year, which is "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for All", will focus on the unfinished agenda of advancing the rights of women and ensuring that women have equal opportunities in all facets of life.
The theme accords the global community and our nation the opportunity to reaffirm the crucial commitment of equality, freedom and the advancement of women. It was in 1910 that the women of the world began to use this day to reflect on the challenges facing them, on what they needed to do and strategies on how to confront these challenges.
For instance, women in Russia, in 1912 and 1914, used this day as an opportunity to raise awareness against the First World War. It is indeed a very important day for us as women and as people of the world.
The ruling party wants to acknowledge that the landscape for women's rights has dramatically changed over the past two decades, and that the fight for gender equality in many countries across the world, particularly ensuring that women and men enjoy equal rights, is no longer as much about women's legal status but more about socioeconomic conditions that women face in their daily lives.
We would like to take this opportunity to salute and pay tribute to the many women and civil society organisations across the globe for their courageous and resolute fight for gender equality. This year, as we commemorate International Women's Day, the people of the Republic of Haiti, Chile and Uganda continue to experience catastrophic disasters that claimed hundreds of lives and left many women and children in even more desperate conditions of destitution, hunger, homelessness and violence.
We want to take this opportunity to reaffirm our continued support for the people of Haiti, Chile and Uganda, in particular women, as they undertake the daunting task of reclaiming and rebuilding their lives. We want to call on aid agencies such as the United Nations and government leaders, including the government of our country, to expand their focus in prioritising the provision of aid and assistance to women and children.
We also want to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with the women of all conflict-ridden regions of the world, especially in Palestine, Darfur, Somalia, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Saudi Arabia. Our nation commemorates International Women's Day just 15 years after we made a clarion call and commitment to dismantle all discriminatory legislation and practices.
As much as we want to acknowledge that our nation has made enormous progress in dismantling discriminatory legislation, policies and practices that undermine and attack the dignity and rights of women, we also are concerned that we have not moved decisively in expanding opportunities and programmes that are geared towards the final dismantling of all these discriminatory laws. We want to see a more resolute political will and firm commitment to equal rights and opportunities of women.
As a country, as much as we are proud that we are amongst the ten nations of the world with the highest representations of women in Parliament and in the executive, we are under no illusion that the daunting challenges that lie ahead are still numerous. We are also aware that the battle for gender equality has shifted towards putting together all our efforts to ensure that women genuinely experience a better quality of life and equality in all aspects of their lives.
We continue to be concerned by the fact that, despite the rights espoused by our Constitution and the wide range of legislation, women in South Africa and the world remain largely marginalised and subjected to conditions that attack their dignity.
As we join the rest of the world to reaffirm our commitment as South Africa, which is characterised by unequal rights and opportunities for women and men, we are concerned by the slow pace and progress in making this reality. We are concerned that women in South Africa are still trapped in poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and poor health, and are subjected to the harshest social conditions. Our gains will mean nothing if we do not address the reality of the daily experiences of poor South Africans.
The struggle for gender equality is firmly located within the millennium development goals of our Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and we do want the state to proceed.
I quickly want to move to 2010 as a year we are all celebrating and looking forward to. As the ruling party, we had an opportunity over the weekend to have a presentation by Sizwe and Associates, identifying what the opportunities and threats are for us as women in 2010.
Amongst the threats we identified were child trafficking and prostitution of women. As much as there is huge excitement about the 2010 Soccer World Cup - and there is good reason for this, since it is the biggest sporting event in the world and an opportunity for South African women to show the world how far we have come - there is also a global threat that such events can act as a drawcard for sex trafficking to the host country.
We want to tell the world to come and see our country, but not our women. We are aware that the preponderance of women among prostituted people is a reflection of the reality of continued oppression on the basis of sex and gender. [Applause.] The vast majority of these women are poor, with 73% of prostituted women being homeless. In South Africa, women continue to be vulnerable to being prostituted by male‑dominated rings. Prostitution is the cornerstone institution of the system of inequality between the sexes. We say that no one chooses their sex, but sex is the singular most powerful determinant of whether or not someone will be prostituted. This is shown by the fact that despite both men and women living in poverty, the vast majority, some 90%, of people in prostitution are women.
In addressing the issue of the alleged choice of women, most people say women choose to be prostituted and can leave if they want to. However, studies conducted show that 89% of women who are being prostituted say they want to leave prostitution, but have no other option for economic survival, suggesting that social and other factors are coercing women into prostitution rather than that they choose to be prostituted.
So we'd like to urge the Minister of Police to put measures in place to make sure that the state prevents prostitution of children and women, both local and foreign. We have information that already 40 000 women are being recruited to be prostituted in our country. As women, we are demanding that there must be measures to make sure that indeed our women and children are not prostituted.
We also want to request the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities to ensure that women and children are alerted about the dangers of human trafficking and that the Minister of Social Development and I establish effective programmes to educate and support women to avoid the dangers of sexual exploitation. As South Africans, both men and women, it is our responsibility to keep our women and children safe, not only during the World Cup, but at all times.
The achievement of gender equality will only be realised with leadership and commitment from both men and women. The Southern African Development Community Protocol Article 13 commits all of us to "ensure the inclusion of men in all gender-related activities, including gender training and community mobilisation", which means that we all, men and women, bear the responsibility of combating the abuse of the human rights of women and children, and that we must support initiatives where men are also actively involved in the efforts of women.
We have a very clear commitment to gender equality at national and regional levels. We must not give up pursuing our goals of closing the gap between the daily experiences of women in South Africa and the aspirations expressed in our Constitution.
In closing, I want to quote what we said in 1994:
Women cannot march on one leg or clap with one hand.
Madiba said in 1994 when he opened this Parliament:
Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.
All of us should take on board that the objectives of the Reconstruction and Development Programme would not have been realised unless we see visible, practical evidence that the conditions of women in our country have radically changed for the better in that they have been empowered to intervene in all aspects of life as equals with any other member of society.
As the ruling party we want to affirm our commitment to remain in the forefront of the struggle to address and improve the conditions of women in our country. We cannot, as a nation, afford to have such high numbers of women with no access to adequate health care; who die from curable diseases; who continue to lag behind in education; and who suffer violence and abuse on a daily basis. For as long as there are these stark disparities in access to opportunities and the majority of those who live in poverty are women, emancipation in our country is incomplete, and we therefore call on this House to embrace this year's theme put forward by the United Nations, namely that all of us have to fight for equal rights and equal opportunities and ensure that there is progress for all. I thank you, Chair. [Applause.]
Ms P C DUNCAN
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
Ms P C DUNCAN: Chairperson, today the DA is proud to celebrate and observe the United Nations International Women's Day, and we support its theme: "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for All".
There are still far too many challenges facing women in South Africa and it is unacceptable that the ANC-led government gives only superficial recognition to these. As the DA, we express our discontent with the lack of genuine commitment from national government as a whole to better the lives of all women across the country.
Chairperson, this also reminds me of what Mamphela Ramphele said in her speech at the Helen Suzman Memorial Lecture in Cape Town in November 2009, and I quote:
Our society is bleeding. The social pain endured by those who have remained marginal in our society has burst into greater and louder protests in our streets. The public good is undermined by imperatives of the "morality of the party and its survival". Our democracy is at risk from the level of inequality that is exacerbated by patterns of actions that are unethical.
I am of the opinion that there is a strong correlation between political will, public awareness, expectation of service delivery, equality and what constitutes ethical behaviour. Political support and will about service delivery, equality and ethical behaviour are critical. The political will to make service delivery, equality and ethical behaviour central to the oversight, governance and administration responsibilities involve the will to question current behaviours, public and private practices, structures and processes that perpetuate inequality.
Chairperson, many policy-makers remain basically unaware of the relevance of the entire human rights, equality and ethical discourse to their professional spheres of operation. All of us therefore need to get in touch with our own perceptions, stereotypes, prejudices, attitudes and beliefs about these, and understand how these impact on women and the broader society as well as service delivery.
When the dignity of our people and our institutions are under threat, then we are in big trouble as a nation. It is therefore important that we start with ourselves. I therefore challenge all of us, from the President of our country, hon Mr Jacob Zuma, to the Cabinet, Parliament, the judiciary, all Members of Parliament, members of the NCOP and all members of provincial legislatures, as well as councillors in local government, to rethink whether we are indeed the leaders to bring about change for our women and our nation as a whole.
We dare not sigh or shrug our shoulders when we have the opportunity to interrogate the deeper reasons for our failure in achieving visible and lasting solutions to the devastating proportions of the socioeconomic problems of today. How can we claim that we are upholding the Constitution and that we are serious about serving all our people?
In a recent article in the Mail and Guardian of 19 to 25 February 2010, Ramphele also said, and I quote:
Inequality and inequity in societies create social pain and shape the quality of social relationships. Psychologists have now demonstrated that pain inflicted on the psyche is as devastating as physical pain, if not more so.
Yes, this is devastating pain. Anybody sitting here today who has ever been discriminated against or unequally treated on the basis of the colour of his or her skin, his or her sex, his or her disability, religion, culture, etc will understand what Ramphele's "pain inflicted on the psyche" means to all of us.
It is pain that damages your dignity and self-worth, having lifelong implications and effects unless inner peace is found. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission was one way of easing this pain caused by our apartheid past, but the effects of that pain remain. This is evident in the intolerance between individuals, in communities and broader society.
Chairperson, gender inequality, however, remains unchanged in many ways. According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women, simply increasing women's share of seats in Parliament alone is not the only solution, as it does not guarantee that they will make decisions that benefit the majority of women. We therefore have to ensure that, as women in politics, we make a concerted effort to influence decisions and the priorities agenda in terms of policy results that will improve the status of women in general.
We also recognise that politicians across the globe still confront a masculine model of politics, as political life is organised for male norms and values and in many cases even male lifestyles.
The challenge is how well we are able to shift to an inclusive model of politics that enhances equality for both men and women – meaning that like men, women should be recognised for their particular contributions, values, norms and lifestyles.
The pain Ramphele is speaking about is also the pain of a kind that hurts deeply in the psyche when women with disabilities experience exclusion in relation to the nondisabled in inaccessible economic and social environments. It is the hurt that people who are poor feel when harshly disrespected because they are poor. It is the hurt women feel who continue to be beaten and raped by men, when girl children are raped and their psyche scarred for life, when harsh disrespect is verbalised between women and men.
Addressing those responsible and holding them to account on an ongoing basis on the issue of violent sexual and gender-specific crime should be one of the primary concerns of this House. There are probably as many theories about why the country is in the grip of an extraordinarily violent expression of male sexual power as there are incidents of rape in a day.
We should be careful that in an effort towards greater gender equality, we do not have the opposite effect. We should guard against the possibility that politics may stand in the way of the effective safeguarding of our women and girl children in the country.
Ramphele further says that any disruptions caused in the interconnectedness and interdependence within families, communities and society too inflict pain and leave those marginalised vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty.
This reminds me of the interconnectedness between women and men as husbands and wives, where divorce inflicts pain when that relationship is disrupted or when partners each go their separate way; between colleagues, when the natural association between women and men is threatened by issues of sexual harassment in the workplace; and between parents, when disagreements on gender-based traditional roles and responsibilities in the family often end in psychic hurt.
These are some of the issues that threaten our humanity at the core and our morality and social cohesion as a nation. These are issues that make a mockery of claims of upholding the Constitution. The need for ongoing, robust dialogue in finding new solutions is a must. Turning dialogues and parliamentary debates into real action should be the key priority. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA
END OF TAKE
Ms P C DUNCAN
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA: Chairperson, hon members and fellow South Africans, there's usually an expression of admiration for women, especially younger ones, when they have done well ...
... ethi: Amaqobokazana angalal' endleleni yazini kunyembelekile. Nditsho kuni ke mantombazana. Nditsho kuni zimazi zakowethu, nakwabo kungekalungi kubo. Sithi akulahlwa mbeleko ngakufelwa. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
In paying tribute to all the women of the world, from south to north, from east to west, women from the squatter camps to dusty towns, to shantytowns, to mine towns, to townships, to villages, to prisons, to hospitals, to the streets, and to all the women and girls whom society cannot account for, Cope says: "Your struggle is our struggle."
Having been part of Parliament's Multiparty International Women's Conference on Friday last week, I will defer some of the recommendations to the declarations that were made there. I will, however, grab this opportunity to share some insights and to highlight some of the challenges still facing women and girls today.
The topic at hand is "Equality, Equal Opportunities for All". While acknowledging efforts and strides taken in ensuring that there are equal opportunities for all at global and country levels, it is not in the lack of instruments such as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, among others, that challenges with regard to women's equality arise. It is in the lack of commitment and will in following up and in ensuring that the dictates of such instruments are implemented.
It would also be dangerous to use a one-size-fits-all approach in appraising women's conditions throughout the world. So much is still left to be desired the world over.
Last week, in speaking to one woman with regard to the topic at hand, I woke up to an amazing idea of the purpose for which women were created in the first place. Most historical accounts, be they of biblical or evolutionary descent, converge on the idea of creation as the beginning of life; that after life was created there was still a problem; that after creation, in all its beauty, creation was not working out; that creation was not totally adequate to run alone; that man was not good alone, and therefore, woman was created as the solution to creation's problem and not as a solution to man's problem. [Applause.] Here was a solution that could go as far as carrying and producing another human being, something that creation herself could never do without a woman. Up to now I have not heard of a nation of people that were conceived outside women's bodies.
So, with woman, whom we experience as daughter, as sister, as wife, as mother, as aunt, grandmother and cousin: how did we get to a place where woman becomes the problem? How did we get to a place where my mother is beaten and it is OK? How did we get to a place where my daughter is not at school and it is OK? How did we get to a place where my sister is not working and it is OK? How did we get to a place where my grandmother is raped and it is OK? How did we get to this place? How did we get to a place where fathers and uncles sleep with their children and it is OK? How did we get to a place where my aunt is coming to the World Cup to be a sex worker and it is OK? How did we get to this place? [Applause.]
Is it our best way to receive this creation? Is it our best way to respond to this gift of woman? Don't we know that the dignity of nations, the dignity of treaties, the global agreements and the sovereignties of countries are etched and safeguarded in the wombs of our daughters and sisters, who one day will provide countries and future generations with leaders? So, how did we get here?
One of the most dangerous weapons of woman destruction is the perceptions embedded in the minds of society on what constitutes a woman; what a woman's role is; what she should look like; how many women one man can have; how much she should be paid; how she should behave; and also how a man must look and behave in order not to be mistaken for a woman.
The more dainty, delicate and soft-palmed a woman is, the more feminine she is considered to be. The extent to which a woman cannot speak loudly and make demands determines her level of finesse and femininity. In the same vein, and ironically, having displayed such femininity by wearing a short feminine skirt, this is taken as an open invitation for sex. [Applause.] So, women face a highly uneven and contradictory process of what women must do and what they must look like. This results in her always having one foot planted on either side. Her genuine desire to be a woman and the desire to meet men's expectations of who she should be, how she should look, again results in her not having confidence or being in control of either side.
Such perceptions extend to the workplace. There are perceptions, again held by both men and women, that men are superior, that they have a priority claim to employment, that women owe them labour and are accountable to them. John Chrysostom, one of the so-called Early Church Fathers, articulates these perceptions. He says, and I quote:
To women is assigned the presidency of the household, to men all the business of the state, the marketplace and the administration. […] If the more important and more beneficial concerns were turned over to the woman she would go mad. […] God maintained the order of each sex by dividing the human life into two parts, and assigned the more necessary and beneficial aspects to man and the less important, inferior matters to the woman.
Even today, sadly, one still finds both these perceptions and practices. There is an infrastructure boom in South Africa, and yes, women are represented, but they are largely doing jobs such as cleaning the windows and doors and all such mundane jobs, and this is counted as empowerment. It cannot be. Empowerment of women must be tangible, measurable, sustainable, dignified and genderless.
While dealing with these perceptions and ironies, woman dies. While struggling with the reality of being human instead of being a myth, woman dies. Medical sources say she died of natural causes, but those who knew her know that she died from being silent when she could have been screaming. Those who know her know that she died smiling when she could have been raging; she died from coughing up blood from secrets she had to keep away from her husband or partner, instead of allowing herself the kind of nervous breakdown that such secrets produce. She died from loving men who did not love themselves, and could only offer her a crippled reflection. The woman died.
While we cannot do much about death, it is in the silences that we find the most difficulty. It is in breaking these silences, naming ourselves as women, protecting our dignity, making ourselves present, uncovering the hidden, that we begin to find the reality that resonates with us as women, which affirms us, a reality that allows, as women and men, to take each other seriously, meaning to begin to take charge of our lives.
Hon members, women have done it before, in the United States of America as in South Africa. In such rural areas as the Deep South, there were no men on the scene. The real struggles of the civil rights era, like the struggles in Zeerust and then Sekhukhuneland, were waged by women and then credited to men. In every one of the classic revolutions, the French, the Russian, the Mexican, the Chinese and the Cuban revolutions, the final stage of the revolutionary process was signalled by acts of mass opposition by women to ancient regimes. Similarly, in South Africa, the most successful struggles in our history are the ones in which women played the most active roles: the Women's Anti-pass Campaign of 1910 in the Free State; the 1956 march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria; the so-called Peasant Revolt in the Barotseland, Sekhukhuneland and Pondoland; and many other struggles, some visible, others not.
It cannot be that today we fail, as women, to defend, to protect and to create the futures of our girls so that when they look back they say, "My mother was here before." As Don Mattera says, "Yes, we were here before." Thank you. [Applause.]
END OF TAKE
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Hon Chairperson, this year marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. In recognition of this important anniversary, the theme of this year's International Women's Day, which was observed worldwide yesterday on 8 March is: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for All.
I believe that on this momentous day we must reflect on the economic, political and social achievements of women, past and present. We must look critically at the progress and shortcomings of the past 15 years and evaluate how far we have come in achieving equal rights and equal opportunities for our women.
I take great pride in the fact that the IFP has fought for women's rights for 35 years, working tirelessly to ensure that women take up their role within our liberation struggle and within our democratic transformation, and in the building of our future. We in the IFP lead by example. That is why we have made women's empowerment a priority.
Contrary to hon Minister Tokyo Sexwale's and the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Women's League's views, the IFP has always fought for equal rights and equal opportunities for women, not only within our own party, but within our society at large.
The IFP's president, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, was the first to promote the liberation of women when he recognised their role within the leadership of Inkatha. As the ruling party of the erstwhile KwaZulu government, we took unprecedented legislative initiatives to amend the Natal Code of Native Law to enable women to own property like their male counterparts, thereby eliminating forever the legal presumption that adult married women were minors throughout their lives.
We went even further by opening the institution of traditional leadership to women and we allowed for the first female traditional leader to be installed.
For us, the struggle for liberation will never be over as long as people are oppressed by poverty, unemployment and ignorance due to lack of education, and as long as women are oppressed merely on account of their gender and regarded as lesser citizens than their male counterparts.
Whilst we all agree that since the dawn of democracy in 1994 and after the conclusion of the Beijing conference in 1995, a lot has changed for the better for the women of South Africa, the uneasy truth remains that despite these achievements many of our women still bear the brunt of our societal ills, such as poverty, domestic violence, crime and human trafficking.
While the IFP endorses the widespread provision of grants to needy women and children, this needs to be balanced against long-term, more sustainable interventions which encourage self-sufficiency and self-help.
We believe that rural agriculture must be resuscitated. The IFP believes that special attention must be paid to teaching women the basics of subsistence farming, which will enable them to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families. With initiatives such as these, we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls.
Discrimination against women persists everywhere and in its worst form it manifests as violence. In fact, the abuse of women, both physical and mental, is rife in South Africa.
In order to free women from all forms of oppression, we must change attitudes in families, workplaces and communities. Momentum needs to be built from the grassroots level. At school and at home, both boys and girls must be treated as equals and given opportunities aimed at achieving gender parity and putting an end to misguided gender stereotypes. This needs to be embedded in our society and become the norm.
In line with the Beijing Declaration let us recognise … [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms B N DLULANE
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA
Ms B N DLULANE: Chairperson, hon members, hon Premiers – I've seen my Premier here – hon members from the nine provinces …
... ndiyavuya xa ndinibona nilapha.
The road to an inclusive, participatory and free society based on the will of the people, irrespective of race, sex, belief, language, ethnicity and geographical location, is a road too familiar to the women of South Africa in particular, and the women of Africa and the world in general.
This road has been built throughout history with the sweat and blood of women in different corners of the world: Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and 1980 to 1984; the women who led the anti-pass-law march to Parliament in 1956; Ms Bertha Gxowa; Sophie de Bruyn; Lilian Ngoyi; Ms Helen Suzman, who for a very long time was the lone opposition voice in the apartheid Parliament; and Ms Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmental and political activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, to mention but a few.
It is a road that the women of South Africa and the world over are continuing to work on in various areas of life. The women parliamentarians, women academics and women from civil society organisations held a conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday, 5 March 2010, to mark the celebration of International Women's Day and to celebrate the achievements and roads that women are continuing to build in South African society and beyond.
Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa provides the Bill of Rights in celebration of the women of the world. The Bill of Rights provides, among other things, for the protection of human dignity, freedom and security of the person, and freedom of movement and residence. These rights benefit women and empower them to reap the fruits of the labour of all women who travelled this road before us.
The 52nd national conference of the ANC declared that precisely because the oppression of women was embedded in the economic, social, religious, cultural, family and other relationships in all communities, its eradication was a strategy and tactic that had to be embarked upon in order to free the women of our land.
African communalism, which was in place before the colonial period in South Africa, was based on collective and inclusive governance through direct participation. This society was not only characterised by peace, harmony and prosperity, but also by social cohesion, justice and unity. These qualities did not arise as a coincidence but as a result of a genuine system of democratic participation in which the words, hopes and aspirations of every member received equal attention and consideration, irrespective of his or her gender. These qualities demonstrated themselves in the early years of the SA Native National Congress when, even at its launch in Bloemfontein on 8 January 1912, women regents such as Queen Manthatisi of Lesotho were in attendance.
Participation in itself is never enough. The noble right and opportunity to elect the leadership of the country and representatives in Parliament must be linked to equal participation and inclusion of women in a free society where the society not only lives as equals but where women experience equal treatment - not just in law, conduct and culture, but also in the material conditions with which they have to contend. The ANC-led government is hard at work to bring about lifetime changes to the women in rural areas and informal settlements, enabling them to participate in the decision processes that affect them and to lift them from abject poverty and strife.
Equal participation and inclusion should result in the transformation of the lives of all. Equal participation should not only move women up into decision-making structures, but meaningfully empower them to be champions of their own destinies. Women should lead in ensuring that there is speedy delivery of service to all our people. They should ensure that participatory democracy is not abused by those who cause anarchy and have no experience of exclusion from privilege. Their only ill-intended goal is to score short-lived political points and to keep the revolution marking time or, at worst, to reverse the gains of the revolution.
Women as the custodians of good conduct should rise up - as they did against the fascist apartheid regime - against the faceless antirevolutionary elements that burn down our libraries and other communal assets. Women who bear the scars of the tyranny of triple oppression should make their voices heard against the forces of darkness which deliver poor service to the people whilst enriching themselves through tender-rigging and a combination of other improper tendencies which are strange to the spirit of ubuntu. [Applause.] It is only the genuine and constructive anger of women that will ensure that there is inclusivity, participatory democracy and a free society.
Article 1 of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Principles of International Cultural Co-operation provides that each culture has a dignity and value which must be respected and preserved. It further provides that every people has the right and the duty to develop its culture. In this regard, article 17 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights guarantees the right of individuals to take part in the cultural life of the community. It also provides that the promotion and protection of moral and traditional values recognised by the community shall be the duty of the state.
Cultural rights should take a central place in the consideration of rights issues and the strive towards a more just world order. Cultural values are intimately related to our sense of identity. Challenges to our culture thus become challenges to the integrity of each of us as a person and to the values that are closest to our hearts. They threaten our understanding of ourselves and our world. As a result, challenges to culture generate strong and emotionally charged survival responses.
For example, I know what our culture prescribes when we address people such as Madiba. Sometimes I become highly emotional when one pleads ignorance with regard to our cultural norms such as greeting, or any of our cultural values. In such instances I just put aside gender issues and become highly emotional about our culture as the Madiba clan.
International and local authorities are in agreement in upholding and deepening the right of all individuals to practise their individual cultures. They are also in agreement that other people who do not subscribe to such cultures have a duty to respect them and treat them with dignity. It is therefore not only in bad taste but unconstitutional for anyone to use any public platform to speak down on or condemn other cultures, polygamy not excluded. [Applause.]
Through the struggles of women whom I have referred to earlier, women such as Ms Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela and Mrs Albertina Sisulu, the women of South Africa can talk about the taste of freedom in our lifetime. For women, freedom is not only the right to vote and make decisions for ourselves, but also the ability to lift others up where we can.
We have to go back to the words of the president of the ANC, the late O R Tambo, who said, while speaking at a women's conference in 1981, and I quote:
Women in the ANC should stop behaving as if there is no place for them above the level of certain categories of involvement. They have to liberate us men from antique concepts and attitudes about the place and role of women in society and in the development and direction of our revolutionary struggle.
In conclusion, the fact that patriarchy and other discriminative conducts are practised in many areas of our society does not make them acceptable. Thus, united in our diversity, all of us South Africans should rise to fight for the final elimination of such conducts from our society. The legislative grounding is firm enough to ensure success in the building of a truly inclusive, participatory and egalitarian society. What remains is the building of durable walls to protect and advance our hard-won democratic gains. Let us all join hands and march together as one to a united state based on the will of the people, without regard for race, sex, belief, language, ethnicity and geographical location.
Malibongwe igama lamakhosikazi! [Kwaqhwatywa.]
Mr J J GUNDA
Mrs B N DLULANE
Mr J J GUNDA: Thank you, hon Speaker, hon members: all protocol observed.
Ons sal elke jaar hoor van dieselfde statistieke, probleme en uitdagings wat vroue in die gesig staar. Die rol wat vroue gespeel het in hierdie vryheid wat ons vandag geniet, moet nooit gering geag word nie.
Allow me to make a remark about what Julius Malema just said at the University of Johannesburg. It is a shame for Julius Malema to insult a daughter of this soil and it is important for the ANC to reprimand him publically, because on this day of International Women's Day, you can't insult a woman. [Interjections.]
Hierdie regering moet nie dink dat hulle vroue 'n guns doen om hulle as Ministers en Adjunkministers aan te stel nie.
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members.
Mr J J GUNDA: Dit is die reg van vroue om dieselfde behandeling te kry as hulle eweknieë.
Women are carrying the heaviest part of the burden of poverty, unemployment and casualisation of the workforce. The private sector has also not done its part concerning the empowerment of women. For those of us who were involved in the struggle against apartheid, it is an insult to see how little has been done to improve the lot of women.
The ID believes International Women's Day is also an opportunity to reflect on those women in other parts of the world that have still not been afforded the respect and dignity that women deserve. Here in Africa we can do far more to encourage neighbouring countries and those further afield to join us in our efforts to empower women.
Too many women here in our own country are forced to eke out a living from informal or casual jobs and are not able to access the opportunities which this very government claims to have established to make women an active partner in economic growth.
Women are also most infected and affected by HIV and Aids.
Dit is tyd om van oplossings te praat. Dit is nie genoeg om 'n paar vroue te bemagtig, terwyl die werklikheid op grondvlak nie materialiseer nie. Dit is die plig van ons verkose leiers, ons almal inkluis, om vir ons mense die inligting te gee wat hulle op grondvlak kan bemagtig.
Ons moet onself vra of ons tevrede is met wat ons doen. Die wette wat ons maak rondom die verligting van armoede, beteken vir ons niks as dit nie die vroue wat verantwoordelik is, se las en pleidooi 'n werklikheid kan maak nie.
In closing, we are all sons and daughters of Mother Africa and yet our mothers and sisters are crying out for recognition. Let me just say one thing to this little young guy, Julius Malema … [Interjections.] … Learn to respect women so that you can be blessed. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S Z NTAPANE
Mr J J GUNDA
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Hon Speaker and hon members, the celebration of International Women's Day presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the status of women in the world and in our country today. The question is: Where are we insofar as the fight for gender equality is concerned?
Our Constitution is very clear about the rights of women and the non-negotiable need for gender equality. The struggle to establish democracy would not have succeeded without the support of women, and would have lacked credibility if it was not explicitly aimed at achieving anonsexist society. Therefore, we are morally and legally obliged to pursue gender equality, now that we have attained freedom.
Our democracy will lack credibility if half of the citizens, or even more, are regarded as inferior because of their gender. There are many legal and policy changes which have advanced the cause of gender equality over the past 15 years, which we can celebrate. Indeed, there have been remarkable women and men who have shown leadership on issues relating to the rights and dignity of women. We can celebrate these positive changes and sterling leaders today.
But today we must also evaluate those areas in which we fail. Among the victims of crime, especially sexual and domestic violence, women are in the majority. In respect of a whole range of social problems, women constitute the majority of sufferers. On the question of poverty and unemployment, it is once again women who make up a disproportional section of those affected. As a society, our failure to address these issues is an indictment.
We have to focus on finding solutions to address these shortcomings, especially to disentangle the overlap which often occurs between the physical violence, social injustice and economic inequality suffered by the women of this country. I thank you.
Mr P J GROENEWALD
Mr S Z NTAPANE
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Mnr die Speaker, die regerende ANC-party wil die indruk skep dat hulle aan die voorpunt is van gelyke regte en geleenthede vir vroue. En dit mag so lyk, want as daar byvoorbeeld gekyk word na wat gister in die Indiese parlement gebeur het, waar parlementslede wetsontwerpe opgeskeur en mikrofone beskadig het, omdat hulle 'n wet deur die parlement wil voer om te sê dat 'n derde van die parlementslede in Indië vroue moet wees, dan mag dit die indruk wek dat die ANC-regering aan die voorpunt van vroueregte is.
Die vraag kan egter gevra word: Wat is die werklikheid? As daar gekyk word na Suid-Afrika, moet die vraag gevra word of die ANC vroue as vroue sien en of daar 'n kleuronderskeid gemaak word. Hoekom sê ek dit? Ek sê dit omdat 'n mens kan kyk na die Direkteur-Generaal van Arbeid, die president van die Black Management Forum, wat sê dat wit vroue uitgesluit moet word van regstellende aksie. Is dit gelyke geleenthede vir vroue?
Ek wil 'n ander voorbeeld neem.
I see the hon Minister of Police is here. Why, hon Minister, must a white policewoman fight for five years to get a promotion?
Daar is nie iemand anders wat die pos kan beklee nie. Sy het die bevoegdheid, maar sy moet hof toe gaan om bevorder te word. Die Arbeidshof het 'n uitspraak gelewer dat dit wat toegepas word deur die regerende party op rassisme neerkom.
That is what the court said: It is racism, because you don't want to promote this white woman. Hon Minister, I want to say to you that if it is true that you believe in the principles of equal rights for women and equal opportunities, you will intervene and ensure that the appeal to this ruling is stopped.
Hoekom moet daar appèl aangeteken word? As ons werklik sê dat ons glo in gelyke geleenthede en gelyke geregtighede vir vroue, moet dit geld vir alle vroue. Die blanke vroue in hierdie land maak 'n groot ekonomiese bydrae tot die opbou van hierdie land, tot voordeel van almal. U sê in die Vryheidsmanifes:
South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. Yes, it refers to the whites as well. [Interjections.] However, it seems that you want to stop with "black", and you don't want to include "white". Why? You as Members of Parliament and women should stand up for the rights of this captain in the Police Service to get promoted. You should use your influence in the governing party to ensure that she gets her promotion, because she earned it ...
... op meriete, in belang van Suid-Afrika. Ek dank u. [Applous.]
Ms C DUDLEY
Mr P J GROENEWALD
Ms C DUDLEY: Mr Speaker, whilst the United Nations deals with the proposed new UN super agency for women, involving the spending of $63 billion from the United States of America alone over the next six years, African women are complaining it will deal with a First World feminist agenda, pursuing population control, rather than with the pressing issues of women in Africa.
Equal rights and equal opportunities for all start with the physical freedom to enjoy and practise them, which, for an increasing number of women in South Africa, is being snatched from them. South African women and girls are being increasingly lured or kidnapped and trafficked into strip joints and brothels, from which it is very difficult to escape. This business is also fuelled by the influx of foreign women for sexual exploitation, trafficked to South Africa by South Africans working through foreign agents. The women come from Eastern Europe, Thailand and other countries and are often recruited, as in South Africa, through deceptive job advertisements for waitresses or receptionists who are promised good salaries. There are reports that as soon as the women arrive at the strip clubs, their passports are taken away from them, and they are told they will have to work off debt, in what amounts to debt bondage.
The ACDP notes that in the United Kingdom the British government is banning advertisements for massage parlours, brothels, escort agencies and prostitutes, and that failure to comply with the law could carry a £10 000 fine. Ministers hope that banning such advertisements will curtail trafficking in the United Kingdom and the entrapment of girls into prostitution that goes with it.
Since December 2007, when the Sexual Offences Amendment Act in South Africa became effective, it has been unlawful for anyone to buy a sexual act, which includes sexual violation. There is no doubt, however, that lap dancing, as it is called, which exotic dancers are required to perform in the course of their employment, falls within the category of sexual violation, and is therefore unlawful.
Astoundingly, the Department of Home Affairs, via agents, gives these traffickers permission, by granting work permits as exotic dancers or showgirls. Work permits for foreigners to South Africa are notoriously difficult to obtain, except, it appears, if the applicant is destined for captive and immoral occupations. Home Affairs is playing right into the hands of those who are the slave traders of today, and women and children are the losers.
In support of the Palermo Protocol, the ACDP calls on the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities to investigate the exploitation and urges the Minister of Home Affairs to cease issuing work permits for foreign men or women for employment in the sex clubs of South Africa. In order for there to be equal rights and equal opportunities for all, women must have the freedom to enjoy them.
The ACDP would like to congratulate Noleen Glasgow and Inter Outreach Ministries on the opening of Fresh Mannarestaurant in Observatory tonight. Noleen, an ex-prostitute, has walked a difficult road with the help of Inter Outreach Ministries to be free from prostitution and drugs. Her efforts and talents have been recognised and, with the backing of funders, she is opening her own business in the city. Noleen, we applaud you and pray your success will know no limits. Thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Ms C DUDLEY
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Speaker, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Members of Parliament, comrades and friends, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this Joint Sitting of Parliament on this important occasion to commemorate International Women's Day.
We join the nations of the world in celebrating the significant contributions made by women in building a more humane society. This is also a day to reflect on women's struggles and the structural barriers that continue to impede women's progress in ways that often erode the gains we have made over the past years.
As has already been indicated, the theme of this year's celebration is "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for All", which reminds us that we need to focus on the unfinished agenda of advancing the rights of women and ensuring that they have equal opportunities and rights in all facets of life. This theme accords the global community and our nation the opportunity to reaffirm the crucial commitment to equality, freedom and the advancement of women.
Since time immemorial, women across the world have fought hard for their place in society, until they achieved very encouraging progress indeed, progress to which many speakers who came before me to this podium alluded, and which continues to inspire pride and confidence in our women.
At the same time, there are still many women within and beyond our borders who live under conditions of vulnerability and distress.
In this context, we express our solidarity with the people of Haiti, Chile, Uganda and Turkey, particularly women, as they struggle to rebuild their families and communities following the natural disasters that befell them recently. As South African women, we also express solidarity with the women in strife-torn regions, especially in Palestine, Darfur, Somalia, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Iraq, and many other countries where women live under difficult conditions – still in this day and age.
In particular, the Haitian situation has left citizens of the world in great shock. It is for this reason that we join human rights activists across the world in paying homage to the three popular Haitian women's rights activists and many other women who died in the devastating earthquake: Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Anne Marie Coriolan were among the tens of thousands who died in the earthquake. They were described as enterprising activists who had taken on a legal and social system which, in Marcelin's words, "treats women's bodies as commodities".
They helped bring about protection for domestic workers and legal equality in marital and family relations between men and women; and led campaigns to name streets in Port-au-Prince after famous Haitian women. It is for this reason that we must congratulate the ANC Women's League for partnering with Shoprite in mobilising all South Africans into buying and donating items suitable for women and children in Haiti, Chile and Uganda, and also showing our compassion and solidarity. [Applause.] We are urging all hon members to follow suit, because the leader has spoken and provided leadership as the ANC Women's League. [Applause.]
Since women make up 70% of the world's poor and two thirds of those whose literacy levels are low, it is understandable that, as women, we would always have extra obstacles in obtaining women-specific aid and services, just as the women in those countries are experiencing right now.
I must point out, though, that despite the bleak forecast for women in a crisis, women are not simply damsels in distress. We take centre stage in preventing disasters and reconstructing our communities after disasters occur. Women are more likely to prepare family emergency plans and are also aware of who would need the most help in their community. We are also the ones who take on the responsibility of organising the reconstruction of homes and community structures.
In South Africa, we pride ourselves on government's achievements in advancing the position of women in all spheres of South African society, contrary to other hon members who stood at this podium to actually condemn the work that has been done. We believe that a lot has been done. However, we are not oblivious to the challenges that still lie ahead. We know that poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and poor health still weigh heavily on women.
We are conscious that in achieving the national goal of eradicating poverty, we must empower women, because poverty has more negative effects on them. This is a result of the unequal power relations between men and women and of women's multiple roles and tasks compared to men.
We recall that too many women across our country are feeling the effects of the economic crisis. Since 2009 our country's economy suffered huge job losses, mainly due to the global financial crisis.
In his state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma indicated that the financial crisis had cost our economy about 900 000 jobs. Many of these job losses were shared in sectors such as the clothing, textile and export industries in which women form the largest percentage of the workforce. We all know too well that when women lose their jobs, it has huge effects on a larger number of people, primarily children.
In this regard, we should commend the government's effort to cushion the effect of retrenchments through the expansion of social safety nets, investment in infrastructure and the introduction of training programmes for those facing retrenchment, so they can upgrade their skills and improve their chances of being absorbed in alternative employment or income-generating activities. Our desire is that women be given an opportunity and the necessary support to free themselves from the clutches of poverty. As government, our priority is to ensure that women and their families get the necessary support through the provision of public services and access to decent work opportunities in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
As I conclude, I think I should address some of the issues raised by other members who came to the podium before me. We would like to indicate that South Africa has one of the best constitutions worldwide. Contained in our Constitution are rights debated by us as a nation. Amongst other things, there are cultural and all sorts of rights. So it is not right for hon members to come here today and question and debate some of those rights, as if they were not part of those discussions. For instance, the issue of what kind of work one can do, is actually a choice. How many women a husband can take, is somebody's choice. That is my choice. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
The reality is that our Constitution contains that choice. It gives you a choice. Leave those who want to practise their choices to do so, so that we live together harmoniously as a society. It shouldn't be that what is good for me, must be good for others, and if something is bad for me, it must be bad for others. Let us leave people to practise their choices.
As we join the rest of the world in celebrating women's contributions to family and society, we want to call on our government and the entire society to mobilise all South Africans, against all obstacles standing in our way - social, cultural, and psychological - to build a nonsexist and prosperous society. That includes the hon member Groenewald, who happens to be from my province. Before pointing a finger at the Minister of Police, we should ensure, in our own little corner in the North West province, that an African woman is assisted by the hon member's organisation to establish a farm and become a very successful farmer. [Interjections.] That is not happening. [Applause.]
Let us not stand at this podium and point fingers, and say things that we ourselves are not doing. South Africa has a very good Constitution and we should all adhere to it and help one another.
As for this government of the ANC, it has delivered a lot on behalf of women. We want to thank you, hon President Thabo Mbeki, hon President Jacob Zuma, hon President Mandela and all those who led us in this organisation, in taking up the struggles for women, particularly our current President, Comrade Gedleyihlekisa Jacob Zuma. Lead the society. [Applause.] Don't allow people to question your ability to lead, when in fact they should be focusing on the work that this nation requires. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr D A WORTH
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr D A WORTH: Hon Speaker, members, ladies and gentlemen, International Women's Day, 8 March, is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. It is now some 15 years after the fourth World Conference in Beijing, China, which took place in September 1995, with the theme, "Action for Equality, Development and Peace".
The theme today is "Equal Rights for All, Equal Opportunities for All", which fits in very well with the DA's philosophy of an open-opportunity society where everyone has a space to shape their own life, and to improve their skills, irrespective of gender, religion or colour. The more people use their opportunities, the more opportunities they will create for others.
Whilst male chauvinism and patriarchy are still prevalent in many communities, South Africa regards itself as a world leader in gender empowerment. Political liberation of the races and of women has gone hand in hand with the constitutional entrenchment of equality and the outlawing of discrimination based on sex and gender. Currently, some 45% of South African parliamentarians are women.
However, Speaker, violence against women and children remains a major challenge. Statistics indicate that some 37 000 women are reported as rape victims every year, and the actual figures could be far higher. Women bear the brunt of violence, and no woman is immune. Public education must be conducted to ensure that the remedies under the Domestic Violence Act become more accessible to women. Effective implementation is still a problem.
Violence is as much a health issue as it is a criminal justice and social development issue. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will surely flourish. Poverty, however, brings social marginalisation, and violence, fuelled by alcohol and drugs, is widely accepted as a means of resolving interpersonal conflict, and then physical abuse of women and children is often tolerated.
Critically, violence against women and children is closely linked with the incidence of HIV/Aids. A major feature of the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa is the huge increase in the incidence of HIV/Aids amongst women in the 15 to 30 age group. HIV/Aids must surely be one of the greatest threats to the wellbeing of women in this country. According to government statistics, 12,3% of the female population of South Africa is HIV-positive. Access to antiretrovirals for all patients suffering from both tuberculosis and HIV is essential.
A key priority is also that of lowering maternal mortality rates. The development indicators released by The Presidency in 2009 - and these are the latest figures I have – indicate that, in 1997, the maternal mortality ratio was approximately 81 deaths per 100 000 live births. By 2005, this figure had increased to 400 deaths per 100 000 live births. Although the increase in the number of maternal deaths is compounded by the impact of HIV/Aids, the fourth Saving Mothers Report by the National Committee on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths indicates that almost 60% of maternal deaths were avoidable. Of the 60%, approximately 55% of deaths were ascribed to failures in the health system, such as lack of blood transfusions and lack of IC facilities and trained staff.
Matters that count the most in women's lives are their families, access to education, health care, jobs and credit, the chance to enjoy basic legal and human rights, and to participate fully in the political life of their countries. Families rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care. Families rely on women for labour in the home and, increasingly, families rely on women for the income needed to raise the children and care for other relatives.
What are we doing in the communities we serve to make the lives of women easier, to assist with maintenance payments and skills development, to name but a few examples? Will women also benefit with lasting jobs from the 2010 World Cup? Will serious attempts be made to stop women- and child-trafficking, which turns into prostitution and slavery?
Women are the foundation of society. Women are the child-bearers of our nation. Women help educate and develop our children, and act as role models in every aspect of life. Women contribute as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, learners, workers, citizens and leaders. Whilst women are often not paid equally to their male counterparts and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and, globally, women's education, health and violence against them is worse than that of men, great improvements have been made.
We do have female astronauts and prime ministers. Schoolgirls do often excel at university. Women can work and have a family. Women do have real choices. Therefore we must celebrate International Women's Day, where women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their day that looks back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms I C DITSHETELO
Mr D A WORTH
Ms I C DITSHETELO: Madam Speaker, as we commemorate International Women's Day, South African women have much to be proud of and to celebrate. We have a Constitution that says we are all equal before the law, and we have legislated many laws that have ensured the emancipation of our women. To top it all, we now even have a Ministry dedicated to women's issues. Our Parliament is the envy of many other countries, as women's representation is profound.
Martin Luther King Jr once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Today, as we take part in a debate on International Women's Day, the UCDP feels that we cannot even begin to discuss the concept of equal opportunities for all, when injustice and discrimination against women continue to be a scourge that befalls every society.
We still hear of statistics that say 70% of women will experience violence in their lifetime, and in the majority of such cases, it will be from an intimate partner. As a society, as government, we have consistently failed in protecting women and girls by denying them equal rights and equal opportunities, thereby making them vulnerable to many forms of abuse and diseases.
Nearly half the people living with HIV/Aids in the world are women. Worldwide, Aids is the leading cause of death in women of reproductive age. Gender inequities, violence, and lack of access to education, health and economic opportunities are making women vulnerable to HIV. How often do we in this Chamber hear gender stereotyping ideas and fail to challenge them?
Millions of adolescent girls live in poverty, experience gender discrimination and inequality, and are subject to violence, abuse and exploitation. The result is not only the suffering of the girls themselves, but a continuing cycle of oppression and abuse. Investment in education and health is essential, but so, too, are much tougher laws, penalties and prosecutions against abusers.
We feel we can only start to engage meaningfully on concepts of equal opportunities for all if our girls start on an equal footing with our boys. This government has a responsibility to work more aggressively to ensure that every girl has the right to a childhood that provides her with the opportunity to reach her full potential. The battle for gender equality is far from won.
Of the world's 1 billion poorest people, three fifths are girls and women. Girls still account for more than half the world's children who are not attending school. Two thirds of the 759 million illiterate adults are female. In many countries worldwide women are under-represented in political decision-making. They are often trapped in insecure … [Time expired.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M C MANANA
Ms I C DITSHETELO
Mr M C MANANA: Madam Chairperson, I think it is rather unfortunate that hon members would want to reduce a debate of such great importance which celebrates women to the president of the Youth League, Comrade Julius Malema.
But nonetheless, hon Chair, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers, hon members, invited guests and compatriots, let me borrow wisdom from the words of Harriet Martineau when she said, and I quote:
All women should inform themselves of the condition of their sex and of their own position. It must necessarily follow that the noblest of them will, sooner or later, put forth a moral power which shall prostrate cant, and burst asunder the bonds (silken to some but cold iron to others) of feudal prejudice and usages. In the meantime is it to be understood that the principles of the Declaration of Independence bear no relation to half of the human race? If so, what is the ground of this limitation?
The 52nd National Conference of the ANC sought to address these limitations by resolving that before rural development can be successful, the important role of women must first be acknowledged. But more significant than that, was the vigour to correct the skewed ownership patterns of the agricultural sector in South Africa so that it favours women, particularly because they have long been excluded from ownership of land. The ANC has since made a commitment that fundamental changes in the patterns of land ownership will be realised through the redistribution of 30% of agricultural land before 2014. It is as a result of such realisation that land and agrarian reform and rural development are now an integral part of a range of policies directed at fighting poverty and unemployment, and in particular addressing the plight of women in rural areas.
The ANC, in articulating its vision, argues that for a long period land reform has not been located within a broader strategy of rural development or a commitment to supporting smallholder farming on a scale that is able to improve rural livelihoods. In this respect, early initiatives did not successfully ensure that women in rural areas were integrated into the Rural Economic Development Strategy. This has led to a situation where land ownership has not realised its full potential to transform social relations, combat rural poverty and promote rural development.
Whilst there have been notable inroads and advances in land and agrarian reform, there has however been a lack of popular participation in land reform, which has limited its impact and undermined the effort to accelerate redistribution. The limitations, as expressed by Harriet Martineau, and the strides we have since advanced, inform the topic of my debate: "Women as an axis for rural economic development and land reform."
"As an axis" means that rural development and land reform must rotate around the role and participation of women in rural economic development. Women have been the hub and axis around whom families in rural areas have gravitated, especially with the migrant labour system and the depopulation of rural communities to the urban areas, leaving family homesteads with women at the helm, often with little or no resources. As part of the measures to protect the rural poor and the vulnerable, and in particular women as heads of households, from both high and increasing food prices, a clear programme of building a smallhold agricultural sector, geared towards self- sustenance and food security, is what constitutes the bulk of the ANC's preoccupation. In fact, this has been always a policy perspective of the ANC, as reflected in both the ANC's agricultural policy and the 1992 "Ready to Govern" policy document of the ANC.
The ANC has always held the view that a need exists to introduce policies designed to support the establishment of a smallholder sector that will provide access to land and agricultural resources for those historically excluded, with appropriate training and extension. It is precisely this approach, hon members, that today sees women being drawn in greater numbers into this programme. They move away from the use of capital-intensive forms of agriculture at the direct expense of creating employment through labour-intensive means. Job creation mechanisms must be an option for women because they are at the forefront of the socialisation of rural capital through the establishment of rural co-operatives. In this regard, the ANC has emphasised that among the injustices committed by the agricultural policies of the apartheid government was the promotion of capital-intensive forms of agriculture in the presence of widespread rural unemployment, thus consciously creating rural underdevelopment, and the further impoverishment of women in particular.
The alternative to capital-intensive forms of agriculture is being advanced, through advancing a path of labour-intensive forms of agriculture and ensuring that smallholders, especially women, are supported and collective forms of ownership are encouraged.
This, of course, takes place alongside an inclusive approach to agrarian reform and development. In this regard the ANC stated, in 1994, that we would prioritise investment in labour-intensive agricultural sectors, including investment in infrastructural projects such as the creation of roads and irrigation systems using the labour-intensive technology.
As far as the agrarian reform is concerned, the ANC seeks to support subsistence food production, expanding the role and productivity of modern smallholder farming and maintaining a vibrant and competitive agricultural sector. Again, these policies are informed by the need to make women the axis around which the wheel of agrarian reform, land redistribution, and food security turns.
To ensure that this approach is sustained, the ANC has equally resolved to achieve the creation of an overarching authority with the resources and authority to drive and co-ordinate an integrated programme of rural development, land reform and agrarian change.
Let me briefly deal with how we move to an integrated programme of rural development, land reform and agrarian change. The political imperatives of agrarian transformation are a range of fundamental issues that relate to the restructuring and, subsequently, dislodging of the current agrarian accumulation logic located in the agri-business paradigm towards a more inclusive agrarian path of self-sustenance. Agrarian transformation must not be understood simply in the context of the production of agricultural products in order to earn export earnings and accumulate wealth, but should largely be about sustainable food security, ensuring tenure rights and altering the ownership patterns of the agricultural sector. It is about placing rural people, and particularly women, at the centre of this development as the axis upon which this development will spin. As such and in essence, agrarian transformation is about poverty reduction and ensuring sustainable rural livelihoods.
Let me briefly deal with food security. There is political clarity on the side of the ANC that land, agrarian reform, food security and rural development are an integral part of a number of policies and programmes directed at fighting poverty and unemployment, to which women are most vulnerable. Through the ANC's 2009 Election Manifesto, the ANC has clearly articulated the vision for land, agrarian reform, food security and rural development. In this regard, the ANC has further argued that it is committed to ensuring that there is adequate food available to all.
In addition, the ANC has set out very clearly in its vision for food security that an Emergency Food Relief Programme on a massive scale, in the form of a food assistance project to the poorest households and communities, including through partnerships with religious and other community organisations, is vital.
Going forward, the ANC seeks to put in place an agricultural development paradigm anchored on sustainable agricultural production, food security and altering the current ownership patterns through land and agrarian reform that will benefit women and see them as the drivers of the paradigm shift. As the agrarian reform calls for fundamental changes in the patterns of land ownership, backed by comprehensive support programmes and monitoring, women must take the centre stage and demand ownership.
In conclusion, I want to state categorically that all this can happen if women emancipate themselves first from the bondages of the past and reignite the fire of 1956, which led the former president of the ANC, iNkosi Albert Luthuli, to conclude and say, and I quote:
Among us Africans, the weight of resistance has been greatly increased in the last few years by the emergence of our women. It may even be true that, had the women hung back, resistance would still have been faltering and uncertain. The demonstration made a great impact, and gave strong impetus. Furthermore, women of all races have had far less hesitation than men in making common cause about things basic to them.
I may not be in a position to say whether women are better than men, but I know that they are no worse, because had it not been for the efforts of Mama Bertha Gxowa, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Idah Ntwana, Ruth First, Charlotte Maxeke, Ray Alexander, Winnie Mandela, and many others I would not be standing at this podium addressing this august House. [Applause.]
I am born of the struggles they have had to wage for me to enjoy the fruits of freedom and, indeed, I can safely affirm without getting into the debate of who is better than the other: Wathint' abafazi, wathint' imbokodo. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms M P THEMBA
Mr M C MANANA
Ms M P THEMBA: Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers, hon members of the NCOP, hon special delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to take part in a debate which is at the core of our struggle for a prosperous, nonsexist and nonracial democratic South Africa.
I am not only excited, but also feel honoured and humbled to address this very important Joint Sitting of great sons and daughters of our nation who are at the forefront of the struggle to advance women's freedom and empowerment. Our nation joins the rest of the world in celebrating a century since the Second International Conference of Working Women which was held in Copenhagen in 1910, as other speakers have already mentioned. This important gathering laid the foundation for the adoption of a profound resolution that changed women's struggle for equal rights and freedom across the world.
The origin of International Women's Day is at the core of the issue addressed by the Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises. International Women's Day originated from a cry of women who faced the harshest and most brutal working conditions that undermined and attacked their dignity and basic human rights. These were women who were underpaid, overworked, had no security, worked long hours under dangerous conditions and were abused by their employers.
It is therefore befitting that the ANC chooses the creation of decent work for women as one of the key messages to honour this day. I want to put it categorically that we have never paid lip service to this important call. We will continue to put our shoulders to the wheel to ensure that we lead our people on the path of growth, development and employment.
The evolution of the concept of decent work in South Africa gained momentum through the ANC and its alliance, with reference to economic policy discourse. It found expression in the Freedom Charter, which states: "The people shall share in the country's wealth."
We have seen a number of programmes, policies and initiatives that continue to give life to this expression. The Reconstruction and Development Programme is one of the initiatives that embraces an inclusive process that recognises the need for the creation of jobs and decent work as a necessity to fight unemployment, poverty and gender inequality for a better life for all.
The concept of decent work is entrenched in the South African Constitution, which also embraces the principles of equality and respect for the dignity of all women and men as equals before the law. We have fought and defeated the might of apartheid to ensure that women enjoy a better quality of life, equal opportunities and decent work.
As the ANC, we have always said that the national liberation from racist white minority rule and the legacy of colonialism of a special type would be incomplete unless it also meant the liberation of the women of our country. We remain resolute and profoundly committed to ensuring that women enjoy equal rights and opportunities in all aspects of life.
The ANC continues to lead our nation on a path of dismantling discriminatory legislation, practices and policies that undermine and attack the dignity and rights of women. We have moved decisively in expanding opportunities and programmes that are geared towards dismantling apartheid's social and economic relations, and are creating a democratic society based on the principles of equity, nonracialism and nonsexism.
We are under no illusion about the fact that the landscape of women's rights and the fight for equality is no longer so much about women's legal status but more about the socioeconomic conditions that women face in their daily lives.
The ANC recognises the necessity to transform the economy in order to ensure that women too benefit and remain at the centre of the opportunities for economic advancement. The key task for ensuring economic growth and decent jobs is to ensure a strong and responsive economic system that serves all South African women.
We have committed ourselves to ensuring that women remain the key drivers of the economy. We remain even more resolute in our quest to stop a narrow economic path based on the accumulation of wealth by a few males. In this regard, we recognise that our industrial policies should ensure that women factor prominently in the growth path. We have committed ourselves to transforming the skewed patterns of ownership and production, which reflect the legacy of apartheid, inequalities, dualism and marginalisation of women. We are indeed humbled that our nation has made advances in expanding economic opportunities for women.
We know for sure that the ANC government remains committed to ensuring that it uses its rural development programmes, infrastructure programmes and Expanded Public Works Programme in empowering women, particularly those in the rural areas, as prioritised by the NCOP in its fourth-term oversight agenda.
We are conscious of the fact that much still needs to be done to bridge the gap between urban and rural communities, particularly in the communication and information technology sectors. We are aware that communication and its associated technologies are great economic enablers for many women in many parts of the continent. It can facilitate the establishment of enterprises, co-operatives and better and efficient household management, amongst other things.
We are indeed happy that the Expanded Public Works Programme has created over 1,6 million job opportunities that mostly benefited women. This truly attests to our belief that a developmental state cannot simply play a regulatory role if it has to create decent work and jobs.
We are also aware of the enormous challenges that our nation and many women in our country still face. We are aware that the constant growth that our nation experienced between 1994 and 2005 has not really translated into better opportunities for some women across Africa. We are aware that women still constitute the majority of those in poverty, the unemployed and illiterate.
Despite some of the challenges that our nation faces, the ANC‑led government remains committed to ensuring that women enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities. We will continue to work tirelessly to dismantle all forms of discrimination against women.
In 2007 at the ANC 52nd National Conference, we reaffirmed our position to move decisively in creating decent work for our people, particularly for women. We recognise the fact that, since 1994, the new government inherited an economy that was designed to meet the needs of a minority at the expense of women, rural communities and the majority of our people. It was an economy in deep structural crisis and, consequently, it requires fundamental reconstruction. This economic problem emanates from the discriminatory policies of the apartheid rule.
The international economic balance of forces immensely contributed to inequal patterns of distribution, thus adversely affecting the local economy. Similarly, at present, the South African economy is affected by the international economic crisis as part of the global economy.
I wish to declare, on behalf of all South African women, our solidarity with the women of Soweto in Kenya. The challenges that they are faced with in their country are gruesome and I hereby stand to condemn all those who believe that perpetrating abuse of women and children in that part of our continent will lead to them being healed of their demons. I take this opportunity to call on all South African men to condemn those barbaric actions against elderly women and children in Kenya.
As I conclude, I want to say without any shadow of doubt that the ANC will continue in its endeavours to ensure that women enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities. We will continue to ensure that all South African women are secure, have the right to collective bargaining and worker power, and have better wages and better conditions of service. We say:
As long as there are still stuck disparities in access to opportunities and the majority of those who live in poverty are women, the struggle for freedom in our country remains incomplete.
Malibongwe! Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms E MORE
Ms M P THEMBA
Ms E MORE: Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of the House and guests, it is an honour and a privilege for me today to be standing here participating in the debate on International Women's Day, the theme being "Equal Rights for All, Equal Opportunities and Progress for All".
My speech will focus on women in public health, particularly in management. One woman may change a little, but many women will change everything. Women's rights in health care management are not fully promoted and fulfilled. The statistics show that there has been little change in their position in management hierarchies over the past three to five years.
Women move up the organisational hierarchy within their hospitals at a much slower rate compared to their male counterparts. For example, in Gauteng, in central hospitals, 75% of CEOs are males and only 25% are females. In regional hospitals 64% of CEOs are males and only 36% are females. Most women are managing at district health level. What are we saying about our women? Are we saying they are not capable? One wonders.
The gap in terms of equal opportunities for all in health care leadership is widening between qualified men and women. The majority of top management positions in health care administration are held by men, even though women outnumber men in that profession. The trend has been that women are placed in acting positions of leadership until such time when a "suitable" man is available for the position, of course through the formality of normal appointment or employment procedures.
At times the "very suitable candidate", a male candidate, is actually not even as capable as the woman in the acting capacity. A good example is the Acting Director-General of Health, Dr K S Chetty, at the national Department of Health. One wonders: Until when? Another example in the same department is that of Ms V N Rennie, who has been acting in two positions, as Acting Deputy Director-General and Acting Chief Financial Officer, from 2008.
These situations are degrading to women. When Dr Arthur Manning was removed from office in 2007 at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Mrs Johanna More, who then worked at Gauteng Head Office in Johannesburg … [Interjections.] [Laughter.] … as Chief Director: Hospital Services was placed to act in that position. Guess for how long? Three years. It took her three years to be appointed permanently in that position.
Chairperson, as women we are calling for this trend to come to an end, because the Department of Health is not Hollywood. Posts need to be advertised and capable women with the right leadership and management skills, knowledge and intellectual capacity need to be appointed permanently and given responsibilities, and be held accountable.
The other issue of concern, which other members already alluded to, is the issue of HIV/Aids. The HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa hits women more than men; it's a huge challenge to us women. This is a major crisis for women in South Africa. A woman has strength that amazes men, hence behind every successful man there is a woman. But, guess what? Behind every successful woman you seldom find a man. [Interjections.] Men feel challenged and threatened.
Imagine where we would be if state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, the SAA and the SABC were led by capable women fit for the positions. Definitely South Africa would be a developed state by now. [Interjections.]
The ANC-led government needs to move faster in appointing capable women to positions of influence in public health care. It must value the balance of different perspectives men and women will bring, and use this difference to good advantage for better quality health care for all.
I will conclude with an example of what difference women can make if given the opportunity: On 8July 2009 in Durban, Dr Helga Holst, Chief Executive Officer of McCord Hospital was awarded the Business Women's Association Social Entrepreneur Award at the annual gala event held at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban. She received the award for budget control and proof that the organisation was financially sustainable; evidence of applying practical, innovative and sustainable approaches to benefit society, including direct social impact and scale of projects and initiatives; and a unique approach to economic and social problems, to show an approach that cuts across sectors and disciplines, grounded in certain values and processes that are common to each social problem.
She was nominated by a former winner herself who won in the Emerging Entrepreneur category. She also served as CEO of McCord Hospital for more than 15 years. McCord Hospital is a Christian faith-based organisation that has consistently provided high quality, nondiscriminatory and cost-effective health care services to the underserved sectors of the population in the greater eThekwini region.
Dr Holst serves as its sixth medical superintendent - what we today call CEOs. During her tenure outpatient services at this hospital saw an increase, from 8 648 patients to 15 000 patients per month in 2009. A very successful internationally recognised HIV programme that she came up with still exists today, and they see 17 000 patients.
In addition to her work at this hospital, she was recognised for her accomplishments while serving as the medical superintendent at Emmaus Hospital in the Drakensberg. She was instrumental in rebuilding 60% of the hospital, and establishing eight community clinics and an active community-based TB programme. She further increased the number of medical staff to better serve the patients.
There are many women like Dr Holst in South Africa awaiting their turn.
Modula setulo, basadi ke dikokonono, ba tshwara thipa ka bohaleng, ba lerato le se nang kgethollo, ba na le mamello, ba na le kutlwisiso le bokgoni. Ke a leboha. [Mahofi.]
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS
Ms E MORE
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, International Women's Day, formalised by the United Nations in 1997, not only reminds us about the victories of women, but also invites us to reflect upon the role and status of women in the world at large.
In one century, women have achieved legal and legislative equality in most countries of the world. However, real equality in actual fact remains a goal that is yet to be achieved. International Women's Day is indeed an occasion to examine the progress that has been made in the promotion of gender equality and to identify the challenges that are still to be overcome.
Of course, we must remember that this day came about because of the struggles of working women from across the globe, and it was only formalised by the United Nations in 1997, whereas the working women had already started their struggles that led to this day at the turn of the century. The women who led the event of 8 March mainly came from the working class, but I would like to point out that, while there has been an increase in the involvement of women in the global economy – we have seen large numbers of women joining trade unions – the growth in the rank and file has not, however, been met with a corresponding growth in women's decision-making positions in trade unions in the world.
In general, little attention is paid in international laws to the socioeconomic rights of working women. Socioeconomic rights are usually addressed in national laws, including labour legislation and pertinent social policies. However, in many countries, laws and policies regarding working women's rights are being revised or constrained in various ways.
Could the socioeconomic rights of working women be protected, promoted and enhanced by increasing the number of activist women in the trade union leadership roles? Is there a need for a bill of working women's social rights?
A roundtable meeting in France, held on 12 July 2006, brought together participants in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation project on Enhancing Women's Socioeconomic Rights and Trade Union Leadership, and provided opportunities to discuss research findings and policy implications around this issue. The progress we made towards the attainment of a democratic society can only have full meaning if it is accompanied by significant progress in the struggle for the emancipation of women. Further, it also talked about measuring the progress towards democratic transformation by the progress we make in the struggle for gender equality.
The people of South Africa have already placed the issue of women's rights firmly in the Constitution and on our political agenda. South African women have played an indispensable role in this regard and in the struggle, and will continue to play this role in the future.
For many decades now, our movement has recognised and acknowledged the fact that the emancipation of women and gender equality is one of the defining features of the struggle for liberation, thanks to our forebears and our heroines such as Charlotte Maxeke, Lilian Ngoyi, Ida Mtwana, Florence Mkhize, Dorothy Nyembe and many others. We are happy that, both in the private sector and civil society, this important matter of gender equality has at least begun to form part of their programmes.
The international struggle for the emancipation of women has been the defining development of the 21st century. In 1995, the women of South Africa, together with the women of the world as well as government representatives, descended on the shores of Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. For two weeks they looked at the world from a woman's perspective.
At the conclusion of that conference the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, had this to say at the time:
As we set out on the road from Beijing, the platform is a call for concrete action to make a difference: Action to protect and promote the human rights of women and the girl child as an integral part of universal human rights; action to eradicate the persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women; action to promote the obstacles to women's full participation in public life and decision-making at all levels, including the family; action to eliminate all forms of violence against women; action to ensure equal access for girl children and women to education and health services; action to promote economic autonomy for women and ensure their access to productive resources; and action to encourage an equitable sharing of family responsibilities.
The platform must be our compass that guides us in the struggle for the total emancipation of women, which is the total emancipation of humanity. One cannot have humanity emancipated without women being emancipated.
The African Union has declared 2010 to 2020 the decade of women. It would have been great to celebrate the total emancipation of women during this decade but, unfortunately, hon members, the truth is that the world is nowhere near achieving true equality.
It is true that, on our continent, while they tend to be peace-makers, women find themselves being victims of wars they do not start. Women have to be given the opportunity to take part not only in conflict resolution, but, more importantly, in conflict prevention and peace building. They can only make this contribution if they are indeed in decision-making positions.
In many countries women have not moved far from the type of exploitation summarised by the late President Samora Machel of Mozambique, in 1973, at a conference of Mozambican women, when he said:
To possess women is to possess workers, unpaid workers, workers whose entire labour power can be appropriated without resistance by the husband, who is the lord and master. In an agrarian economy, marrying many women is a sure way of accumulating a great deal of wealth. The husband is assured of free labour which neither complains nor rebels against exploitation. Women are still treated as though they are a possession.
On 8 January 1987, when the ANC celebrated its ninety-fifth anniversary, its then president, Comrade O R Tambo, described South African women in general, but specifically mothers, as the titans of the struggle. [Applause.] Indeed, women of this country and the world have been the titans of their struggles.
But, according to him, the apartheid state saw women as nothing but mere objects of labour: as washerwomen, cleaners, agricultural and the factory workers. In Comrade O R Tambo's view, even white women themselves were domesticated possessions for reproductive purposes. Because women are still seen as possessions in many communities – rich or poor – they are still victims of violence and abuse. These days, they are subjected to a modern form of slavery: human trafficking.
It is also true that women in South Africa and elsewhere have made advances in many areas. Today, women are in Parliament; we have female scientists; and we have women presidents and prime ministers. Women are able to work and also raise families. Women today have choices, thanks to the struggles of women across the world and our women in South Africa.
These advances have made some women think that there is no longer a need for a struggle for equality. The struggle is not about some women making it in the man's world; it is about changing the world so that both men and women are equal in private and in public. [Applause.]
The women of the world must also guard against the clawing back of the gains that women have made. These gains are not permanent unless we are vigilant and defend them at all times - patriarchy is very complex and very enduring.
Women in the world must struggle within their own political parties, especially those on my left ... [Laughter.] ... for gender equality, not only for quotas in decision-making structures, but also for policy and attitude change, which is very difficult to change. We must not be afraid to challenge gender stereotypes, sexist attitudes and pronouncements, even if it means rocking the boat. Never in the history of humankind has there been a situation where the dominant force has voluntarily given up its position.
UNgqongqoshe Wezasekhaya: Inkululeko yabesifazane iyasetshenzelwa.
Are we doing enough as parliamentarians and public representatives to advance women's emancipation? Parliament must express itself clearly and unequivocally against the persistence of sexism, patriarchal attitudes and sexist practices in all our institutions including this very one.
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD: Including the ANC?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Of course, the ANC is part of the society. The ANC is the first political party on the continent to recognise that women are equal to men and that they must participate equally in the struggle. [Applause.]
We must also take the necessary decision to make sure that we uproot the scourge of sexism and advance the struggle of women's emancipation. [Interjections.]
There are of course many international instruments, including African instruments, for women's emancipation, but there is still a big gap between commitment and implementation. The women's decade that has been pronounced by the African Union should be a decade of implementation, particularly of the Beijing Platform for Action, which should remain our compass towards the total emancipation of women.
The world, including South Africa, will never reach its full potential unless women are at the centre of every human endeavour. You must remember that women are more than half the population of the world and they produce the other half [Laughter and applause].
I just want to say to hon Duncan, hon Gunda, Hon Groenewald, and hon Dudley that I was disappointed to see them using this platform and this day to try and score cheap political points.
I wish to say to hon Duncan that the ANC has led the struggle for the emancipation of women and will continue to do so, whereas the only DA-led province does not have a single woman in its executive [Applause.] This is because they don't understand women's emancipation. Their leader thinks that, because she has made it in the men's world, she must kick the ladder away so that no other women can climb [Applause.] The result of that are these open toilets without walls. If you had women in your executive, that would not happen. [Interjections.]
I want to say to hon Gunda of the ID that he should have been standing here telling us what the ID is doing to promote women emancipation in his party and in society.
I want to say to hon Groenewald that black women in this country suffered triple oppression as a result of their race, gender and class. The struggle for the emancipation of women does not only mean fighting for one white woman who is trying to get a promotion; it means more than that. [Applause.]
Hon Dudley, if you were genuine about these numbers of people...
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Chairperson, is the hon Minister willing to take a question? It seems she wants to score political points now.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Ms T C Memela): Hon member, please be disciplined and sit down. Allow the hon member who is on the floor to finish her debate
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Dudley, I would have taken you seriously if you had come to me with those cases that you are concerned about. I have been in this Ministry for nine months. You've never come to me with those complaints; you only waited to come here to score cheap political points. If you are genuine, give me names and I will deal with that, but don't come here... [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Ms T C Memela): Hon Minister, your time has expired.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, the struggle continues. Malibongwe! Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces adjourned the Joint Sitting at 16:13.
END OF TAKE
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