Hansard: Together Empowering Women for Gender Development and Equality: (Debate on National Women's Day)

House: Joint (NA + NCOP)

Date of Meeting: 26 Aug 2009


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Thursday, 27 August 2009 Take: 242




Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 14:01.

The Speaker of the National Assembly took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.




(Debate on National Women's Day)

The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Speaker, Ministers in the House, Deputy Minsters, members, leadership from the NCOP and all the guests present, this year, again, we are commemorating the 53rd anniversary of the heroic march of more than 20 000 women to the Union Buildings. This year we commemorate that under the theme: "Working together to empower women for development and gender equality".

Every year in this month, as South African women, we remember the sacrifice, the commitment, the dedication and the unity in action of the women of the 50s. It was on this day that women demonstrated that they were very strong, they were powerful and indeed, that they were a strong species.

This day marks the culmination and continuation of the great and heroic struggle of women. It is a history that not only demonstrated to the apartheid regime that tampering with women could be dangerous, but that also demonstrated to women themselves that, indeed, they are as hard as a rock. That is why when they were in front of the Union Buildings, they said: "Wathint'abafazi, wathint'imbokodo." [You strike a woman, you strike a rock.] And, indeed, that demonstrated that women were nothing else but strong rocks.

The 9th August always gives us, as women activists, an opportunity to critically re-examine the history of the march and the foundations of the women's movement. This day offers us an appropriate opportunity to reflect on the current situation of women in the country in relation to the progress made since the installation of the democratic government. We use this month to assess the successes we have achieved and the gaps and the tasks that still lie ahead.

It is befitting that 53 years later, we examine this against the backdrop of the history of the women's movement and the history of our struggles. And, more importantly, when we look at this day, we also look at it to learn the lessons that enabled those women to be the rocks that they were. One of the key lessons that we should not forget or even undermine is the representivity of women across race, colour, age, creed or any other factor that divides women.

The delegation of mixed groups in terms of age and race was not accidental. The submission was made by Lillian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams-De Bruyn and Helen Joseph. And that, at all times, should be a reminder for us as women that despite our differences, despite our political divides, despite our age divides, as women we need each other and should at all times hold hands and fight for the development of women.

What is also important and worthwhile about this day is to note that it has been a sustained history of struggles not only in the political sphere, but it was also a struggle for the social and economic rights of our people.

It is important to view this in the context of what hon Minister Nzimande said in the article he wrote for the South African Communist Party, the SACP. He said:

The struggle for women's emancipation cannot be understood outside its relationship to the national and class struggle. A one-sided emphasis on gender without understanding the national content of these gender struggles is bound to lose sight of the major opportunities that exist for both men and women.

It is also worth noting that women were left out by even the most progressive structure, the ANC. It was through their own struggles that, again, women stood together and fought for their space within this most progressive structure, the ANC. It took the ANC generations and decades to recognise the rights of women; and we shouldn't take it for granted that it will continue if we don't organise ourselves and stand united as women.

Year after year as we celebrate this day, we can take pride in ourselves and say indeed, as this current generation, we stand on the shoulders of those brave heroines who came before us. Through years of consistent organising and mobilising, women struggles came of age politically. These commemorations of this day should continue to remind us that women are very resilient, and we always have to celebrate our amazing spirit of thriving in the face of difficulties.

What is more important is not to gloat over our past history and pride ourselves of where we come from, but to ask ourselves what is still left for us as this current generation to do to take forward the struggle for women.

Indeed, as women we can pride ourselves, especially through the progressive policies of the ANC, that in our lifetime a platform had been created for our voices to be heard in the political arena. We have made great advances in the areas of political representation and decision-making. We have made great progress in terms of accessing social needs. As the Minister of Basic Education, I can say South Africa can take pride in being amongst the best in the area of education. We have created access for girl-children. In terms of access for girl-children in schools, we are amongst the best countries. [Applause.]

Special measures have been taken and are under way to address the needs of rural women who continue to be the most oppressed. Different measures are being taken to empower women through different institutions that are necessary to empower women. But more exciting is the establishment of the Women's Ministry by the President; the Ministry which is meant to consolidate our programmes and continue empowering and developing women and ensuring that women's issues are not marginalised, but continue to be mainstreamed within the general work of government.

The second challenge that continues to face us is violence against women and children. It is very sad that even during the month of August, while women have been raising a lot of advocacy and concerns, violence against women continues as if nothing is happening. Women, in this very month of August, continue to be killed, raped, and experience different forms of violence.

It is a very disturbing factor. I am calling on government to view violence against women as an emergency. As much as police are able to respond when there is a report of money stolen elsewhere, we think they should also respond and arrest old men who sleep with 12-year-old children under the pretext of culture. It is an illegal issue, and they should be arrested! There is nothing to debate about. [Applause.]

Sex with a minor is statutory rape. We expect that those men who kidnap kids for purposes of sex, [thwala], must be arrested. [Applause.]

We are calling on our police and the community to act decisively. It is disturbing to know that a man who has fathered all his children's children and is now raping his grandchildren is still not arrested. The community took the law into its own hands by chasing this man. The police did nothing about it. They seem not to see it as a crime, but we think it is a crime. There is nothing to discuss. The police should have arrested this man long before the community arrested him. [Applause.]

During this month, in addition to the problems we raised, we want to bow our heads in respect of all those women, especially the poor women, who, under very difficult global financial conditions, continue to manage their single-headed households and raise their children in the best way they can. Our women continue to be dogged by patriarchy and all its negative effects. A lot has been done, but we think much still remains for us to do.

We need to work in partnership as women, across our political divides or any other divide. We need each other. If you are raped, you are not raped as an ANC or a DA woman, but as a woman. Therefore, it is incumbent upon women that at some point we have to come together and confront all the demons which are still facing us. We have to take the struggle of women to higher levels and consolidate the gains that we have already achieved in pursuit of a truly democratic, nonracial and nonsexist South Africa.

We have to strengthen our women's organisations and the roles and responsibilities of women in all our national structures, and seek common areas of action amongst all progressive women's organisations. We have to continue to fight for gender equality and strengthen the gender machinery within government. We have to ensure that commitments made by our government, and obligations on our government on the rights of women, are implemented. We should be able to monitor that and urge government to act on what is right and what is wrong, and treat anything that affects women as emergencies.

We want to deal with the concrete concerns and the aspirations of women in general and working class women in particular. We have to continue to pay special attention to the developmental needs of the most vulnerable women in society and in particular the rural women. What is more important is to document the history of women.

We are very proud as progressive women that at least one city has erected a statue of a woman in their municipality. MaBaard's statue is the first woman's statue that the City of Kimberley had erected. This symbolises that as women, we have played our role.

Before I run out of time, I want to comment on the interesting debate taking place in the committee, led by our highly respected gender activist, which relates to the establishment of the Women's Ministry. I think two issues are being debated. One is the fact that a Ministry of Women has been established and the second is the clustering of the Ministry. The argument is that when a Women's Ministry is established, it is going to be marginalised, and there won't be any mainstreaming. I don't know where that comes from.

The President in his speech, in Vryheid, said:

The current Ministry is going to help mobilise for the participation of the three sectors in all spheres of government. Because women's issues are cross-cutting in nature and cannot be addressed solely by one Ministry, the Ministry will have to ensure mainstreaming of gender, children's rights and disability considerations into all programmes of government.

Therefore, the speculation of not mainstreaming gender is unfounded. The fact of the matter is that the current machinery we had was not functioning effectively and adequately and there was a need to consolidate. The Women's Ministry is a consolidation of existing programmes. It is nothing new. It is unfortunate that people who are supposed to help us move forward in terms of identifying what the challenges are and how we address them, raise debates which are neither here nor there.

The next debate also raised by our honourable and respectable gender activist is the clustering of the Ministry. There's the debate that if you cluster the Ministry with children and people with disabilities, the assumption is that women are vulnerable. I am not sure about this: if the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries clusters fish and carrots, do they become the same? [Laughter.]

The fact of the matter is that children's issues, issues of disability and issues of women, in terms of the approach, need co-ordination and mainstreaming. It is the function and the approach on how we address the matters which make them common, not because when women and disabled people are brought together they will all be vulnerable. [Applause.]

What is also unfortunate, I think, is that indeed, in some areas, those sectors share common issues. I would like to make our respectable gender activist aware that the issues of women are not frivolous. They are not issues for academic debate; they are too serious for that.

I think we should come together as women. As much as we have our own issues elsewhere, as much as we might have our own political orientations, the issues of women affect us equally, and, therefore, we should not rubbish any other attempt to take forward the issues of women.

We are calling on all women to join hands and work towards the achievement of our dream. If we can achieve some of the main issues that affect women, we will be very close to addressing our millennium goals. Three of those goals are around women. If all of us as women can do this, even assisted by the state, government will quickly realise its objectives.

The millennium goal around poverty: the most affected people are women. The issue of gender equity: the people affected are women. The goal on illiteracy: it affects women. If we are true to our commitments, nationally and internationally, and address women's issues much more seriously and coherently, we will be very close to addressing our millennium goals.

In conclusion, it has a privilege to participate in this debate. It is one of the most beautiful and meaningful debates, because women issues are more serious than anything else. I think it is important that the House come together to address issues that affect this sector. I thank you. [Applause.



Mrs D ROBINSON: Hon Speaker, Ministers, colleagues and all our visitors in the gallery, Molweni, Dumelang, Goeie middag!

I extend a special welcome to the learners from the Dominican School for the Deaf, in Witteboom, and to Portia Oliver who holds the title of Miss Deaf South Africa. The famous words: "Wathinta abafazi, wathint' imbokodo," still echo today, some 50 years after the courageous protest march of women to the Union Buildings.

Why is it, then, that we still find women, "omama", who have always been the rock, the centre, the strength of the family, suffering from discrimination and marginalisation? Many still suffer from a denial of basic human rights, not having access to land or employment, not participating in decisions affecting their lives, and having limited access to health, care and education. Many are totally dependent on men.

Domestic violence against women continues unabated. The number of cases reported to the police rose from 86 000 in the years 2005 to 2006 to 95 000 in the 2008. One of the stipulations of the Domestic Violence Act requires police to assist victims by taking them to a suitable shelter. Very commendable in theory, but in practice this is not possible as we have only 60 shelters in the whole of South Africa. We may have good laws, but the real challenge lies in proper implementation. May the oversight exercised by the new Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disability improve implementation and service.

Education and training are vital for women and for future generations in order for women may be at the centre of restoring moral and social values, bringing back discipline and respect. Men should support this.

This brings me to the discrimination and marginalisation of the deaf and the difficulties that they have in getting a good education. They are, clearly, doubly disadvantaged. Portia, Miss Deaf South Africa, had to give up her studies because of the lack of interpretation and support structures.

Many of the four million deaf people are highly intelligent, but because they cannot communicate easily are often treated otherwise. They are frequently denied the opportunities they aspire to. Many leave school with the literacy competence of an eight-year-old. But how does a profoundly deaf child communicate? How does a hearing parent learn to communicate with a deaf child? Their plight seldom makes the headlines, but I'm hoping that this will change today.

I'm happy to show you the first South African sign language dictionary called Finger Talk, written by Sue Howard of the Fulton School for the Deaf in Durban. This well-illustrated book will facilitate learning to sign, both for hearing and deaf people, thus improving communication and the ability to learn.

DeafSA gives some shocking figures on the plight of deaf children in South Africa. Only 12 of our 47 schools for the hearing impaired offer matric. Only 14% of the teachers are fluent in sign language. Thousands of deaf children have no access to education at all. The overwhelming majority of deaf adults didn't matriculate.

The functional illiteracy rate of South Africa's deaf and hard of hearing is at 75% while unemployment is at 70% - shocking, indeed. Kyle Springate, a deaf matric pupil from KwaZulu-Natal, recently took the Department of Education to court to declare South African sign language an official exam subject so that he could get matric exemption. He failed.

The Constitution of South Africa recognises Sign language. In chapter one of the founding provisions, section 6(5), it says that the Pan South African Language Board, PanSALB, must "promote, and create conditions for, the development and use of ... sign language". In 1996, DeafSA applied to PanSALB for South African sign language to be recognised as an official language. Nothing came of it. Thirteen years later, Parliament has still not adopted South African sign language as an official language and all that PanSALB has done is to hold workshops and raise awareness.

Hon Speaker, This is not good enough. Parliament and PanSALB have failed the deaf. The DA wants South African sign language to be recognised as an official language and a matric subject so that Portia and all the other deaf people can be empowered to reach their full potential and have the benefit of an open-opportunity society. [Applause.] I'm sure that you and all honourable and right-thinking citizens share this wish. Let us go forward together and make this happen. Let us empower the deaf and bring equality to all. Enkosi kakhulu. [Thank you.] [Applause.]




Mrs M A A NJOBE: Speaker, it is wonderful coming from this side of the House for the first time. [Applause.] Speaker, I will also like to greet the women up there and say amongst you women sitting up there are members of the Congress of the People. [Applause.] And there they are. Molweni! [Interjections.]

The SPEAKER: Order! Order! Order!

Mrs M A A NJOBE: The 53rd anniversary of 9 August, South African Women's Day, brings back memories of those 20 000 fearless women who marched to Pretoria demanding that passes for women be abolished and thus they rejected enslavement by the apartheid regime, then led by Prime Minister Strijdom.

Recognising and respecting the legacy of those courageous women, the South African democratic government in 1994 acceded to the recommendation of South African women as a whole that 9 August be declared a public holiday. The government went further to declare the whole month of August as Women's Month.

This achievement by the women of this country gives opportunity to our nation to continually reflect on the situation of women, make comparisons with that of women in the rest of the world, and monitor progress made on the national and international agenda to emancipate women.

Much water has flowed under the political bridge since 9 August 1956. One of the most noteworthy achievements has been the dawn of democracy in 1994, which empowered all South African citizens, including women, to exercise their democratic right to vote and to choose a government of their choice.

Over the past 15 years, women have increasingly understood and appreciated the significance of exercising this right. For example, according to the Independent Electoral Commission survey of the 2009 elections, 75% of women voters registered whereas the percentage of male voters who registered was 69%. One of the political reasons given for wanting to vote was the belief that one vote would make a different in the outcome of the election.

However, election results showed a different story. While 56% of the registered males actually voted, only 49% of the females voted. The question then arises: What could have discouraged women from going to vote since they had been so enthusiastic to register? Could it be that women are beginning to lose confidence in our democratic rule, feeling that those who rule the country no longer abide by the values that earlier led to women throwing their weight behind the struggle for democracy?

The SPEAKER: Hon members, order!

Mrs M A A NJOBE: Could it be that they felt their vote would not make a difference to the outcome of the election? This is one of the challenges women in politics - that is us here – must face. We cannot afford to move backwards.

We all acknowledge the great strides in achievements towards gender equality, both in the public and private sectors. Notable amongst these is the increasing participation of women in decision-making in the political, economical and cultural spheres. The demand by the women themselves that the gender equality machinery be located within the Presidency in order to give it the necessary and serious attention it deserves, has, to a large extent, contributed to these achievements.

Perhaps it is this visible progress, Minister, which has made some among us to deem it necessary to recommend a Women's Ministry. The Congress of the People can only hope that the correct decision has, in fact, been made.

It will be crucial that women ensure that the Women's Ministry does not become a dumping ground for so-called women's issues as has happened elsewhere in the world, particularly in Africa. All women formations must ensure that gains made so far are not reversed. Crucial to such nonreversal of our gains will be the budget allocation to the Ministry.

The benefits of the Women's Development Fund, which the Minister has promised, must reach all deserving women, particularly those in rural and peri-urban areas. [Applause.] It is not clear at present of how the new Ministry will relate to departments in terms of addressing problems specific to women within those portfolios, be they in health, education, labour, issues of crime and so on. These and many other challenges still facing society with regards to women's emancipation and gender equality dictate that as women we still need to stand together.

As women of Cope we believe that this is possible and must be pursued. It has happened before. Women stood together in 1954 as the Federation of SA Women and they made their demands in the original Women's Charter. They stood together in 1956 to reject oppressive laws. They also did so in 1994 at the Women's National Convention convened by the Women's National Coalition, which updated, upgraded and adopted the current document, the Women's Charter for Effective Equality, which, unfortunately, seems to be gathering dust somewhere on the computers of this institution. This is because it is not being used; we are not following it at all. I'm sure that there are some people here who don't even know that there is a Women's Charter for Effective Equality.

We saw women engaging in dialogue through the SA Women in Dialogue, Wawid, and, finally, we witnessed the formation of the Progressive Women's Movement. However, it is unfortunate that all these efforts seem to have come to a standstill, at least as perceived by ordinary women. We only see these leaders on television on 9 August and that is all, otherwise we don't see what the Progressive Women's Movement is doing. [Applause.]

The spirit that issues affecting women know no political or cultural boundaries ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]



Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Chairperson, there is no doubt that gender issues now receive more attention than they did in the past and, although slow, progress is being made in certain areas to achieve gender equality; there are also more women in prominent positions and in positions of authority. [Applause.] The many strong women sitting in this National Assembly today is evidence of this. [Applause.] The problem, however, is that these advances seem to have stayed at a certain level and have not filtered down to grass roots level to benefit the majority of women.

The abuse of women, both physically and mentally, is rife in South Africa, and the challenges that women have to overcome are still too numerous. It is obvious that more needs to be done to ensure that the decisions taken and the plans that are implemented do have the desired effect, and in fact benefit the majority of women in our country, not just a select few. This will not be achieved through legislation and policy alone. A change in attitude and a greater commitment is needed by all South Africans, if gender equality is to be achieved. [Applause.]

Momentum needs to be built from the grass roots level. Many of the stereotypes regarding the traditional roles of men and women are still prominent today, and these will persist and be passed on to future generations, unless a concerted effort is made to change them. At schools, both boys and girls must be treated as equals and be given equal opportunities, and at home, the actions of adults, and in particular men, must reflect the fact that men and women are equal. Efforts aimed at achieving gender parity and putting an end to misguided gender stereotypes need to be embedded in our society and become the norm.

We, as politicians, need to examine the effort that we have made to empower women and determine the areas of weakness and failure, so that corrective actions can be taken and a greater impact made. The policies and laws that we pass must have as great an impact as possible and really empower women. The struggle for gender equality and women's empowerment is not a battle that should be fought by women alone. I, therefore, appeal to the male parliamentarians to become more active and involved in gender issues and debates. We must intensify our efforts and turn all the good ideas and plans that we have into reality.

IsiZulu :

Leli lizwe ngelamakhosikazi. [Ihlombe.] Ngiyabonga.





Nksz B N DLULANE: Sihlalo, zinkokheli, ngqanga neentsiba zayo, ngale mini ndima ndinovuyo, kananjalo ndinexhala, kuba kukho inkokheli esuka apha eyathi yasikhulisa thina bafazana bancinane. Yathi ke enye yeenkokheli zethu, xa sasiququzelela unyulo, umntu omdala xa ephazama uyayekwa. Nditsho ngokubhekiselele kule nto igqiba kuthethwa ngumama owandikhulisayo kulo mbutho, waza wakreqa. Ndithi umntu omdala xa ephazama, uyayekwa. [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Ndimi apha namhlanje ndinenyhweba enkulu yokwenza igalelo ngale nyanga yabafazi. Xa ndiqala ukuvula umlomo wam, ndiyanibulisa nonke bantu abakwigalari, iGqugula looMama lasePalamente le-ANC lithe lanimema, lingajonganga ukuba ubani ukuwuphi na umbutho, ukuba nize kule galari nize kumamela ngale mini yenu. Malibongwe! [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Kwakhona, boomama beemvaba ngeemvaba, boomama bemibutho yezopolitiko, ndithi mandinixelele ukuba, thina singaba bafazi balapha ePalamente, esiphuma kwimibutho ngemibutho - ukhokele ke lo ndiphuma kuwo endingusihlalo wawo - siye savumelana ngokubhekiselele kule ntlungu ikhoyo kuMzantsi Afrika uphela, yabantwana abathi bengabantwana, bazibone sele bengoomama besenziwa abafazi.

Namhlanje ndinovuyo kuba, Mama uCapa, Sodolophu waseO R Tambo; Somlomo kuMasipala weSithili saseO R Tambo, Mam'uMadalane; lungu lekomiti kaSodolophu elinguDiko Eunice; Zuziwe Apleni, ozula-zula ehamba echola aba bantwana; Asanda; kunye nabantwana abane abangakwesi sandla sam sasekhohlo - andazi ukuba kutheni bekhethe ukuba sekhohlo - khanike nisukume nibonwe, bantwana. [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Mandikhe ndibeke ecaleni intetho yam ebhaliweyo. Ngabantwana aba. Siye sangqubanisa iintloko naba bantwana kunye nezi nkokheli eziye zaya kubachola, safumanisa ukuba bazekwe beneminyaka eli-14 neli-13. Bathi, ukuba bebe nelungelo lokungena apha, bebecela ukuba bangene beze kuma kweli qonga ndimi kulo, kuba aboyiki.

Sibuzisile kuba umthetho ngumthetho. Bathi ke aba bantwana ze nditsho ukuba banesicelo sokuba esiya sikolo siseParlmaton, ababekwe kuso ngurhulumente kaMasipala weSithili waseO R Tambo, ukubabalekisa, masingavalwa. Kukho ke abantu abazama ukuba esiya sikolo, esigcina aba bantwana, masivalwe. Bathi aba bantwana, Mphathiswa wezeMfundo, mayingenzeki loo nto.

Bathi, Mphathisa wamaPolisa, besitsho ngesiMpondo sangaphaya emakhaya, "mababotshwe oomama nootata ababendisa bengabantwana, kuba basafuna ukufunda bona". [Kwaqhwatywa.] Kodwa ke, sithi ke thina bafazi abakule komiti ...


... a delegation of the victims of abduction and rape has supported the following structures: the House of Traditional Leaders in the Eastern Cape; the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA, Contralesa, in the Eastern Cape; the Rural Women's Movement in the Eastern Cape; the ANC Women's League in the Eastern Cape; and the SA Police Network in the Eastern Cape. They agreed to lobby Parliament to pass a law to abolish the "ukuthwala" [abduction for marriage] custom, if it is done in this manner. [Applause.]


Sithi ke thina, singaba bafazi, siyayixhasa iCommittee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, iCedaw, iUnited Nation's Children's Fund, Unicef, uMthetho waBantwana kunye noMqulu wamaLungelo. Mababotshwe, phoyisa, abantu abenza abantwana abafazi phambi kwexesha. [Kwaqhwatywa.]


For most of last week the news headlines that captured the attention of the entire nation revolved around two different but related subjects: young girls being abducted by men old enough to be their fathers under the guise of a traditional practice called "ukuthwala" [a form of African marriage in which all formal marriage formalities take place after the unsuspecting bride has been taken away by her in-laws], and a young woman, for whom tremendous support was shown by South Africans, being ridiculed owing to her appearance.


Siyanibulela bantu boMzantsi Afrika abahle.


In the past few days we have seen how South African society rallied around young women who experienced unfair treatment owing to the demeaning attitude of others against women. A few lessons can be learnt from the events of the past few days. We are faced every day with some form of inequality, unfairness, victimisation, abuse and disrespect directed at women. This has the impact of wearing women down.

The question that we have to ask ourselves is whether we as individuals are to blame for perpetrating much of these actions, and how we offer support to those among us who are suffering. Related to that, we should be asking ourselves how far we should go in celebrating success achieved by women. Also, we should be asking ourselves how we encourage each other and rally around those among us who are striving to achieve something better.


Kuluvuyo nochulumanco kum ukufumana eli thuba lokubhiyozela le nyanga yoomama. Le ndibano yanamhlanje kule Ndlu yoWiso-mthetho yeSizwe sisikhumbuzo semizabalazo yamagorhakazi athi kwamhlamnene awasoze aphumle umntu ongumama esacinezelekile. Imbali seyitshiwo ngumama okhekele kwezemfundo osuka apha. Ndinebhongo lokuthi lo mama uphinda asikhokele thina singabafazi bombutho olawulayo. [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Ngo-1912 oomama babonakalisa ubuqhawekazi nendzondelelo yoomama ekuziseni ubomi obungcono - ubusele utshilo mam 'uAngie. Kwalandela iBantu Women's League ngo-1930 - ubutshilo wena Sihlalo olapha emva kwam. Besiqale ngombhiyozo ekuseni wayithetha le nto ndiyithethayo. Ndiyayiphinda abanye bebengekho – apho iinkokheli ezinjengomama Charlotte Maxeke zazibonakalisa ekukhokeleni amakhosikazi. Ngo-1918 oomama abakhokelwe nguCharlotte Maxeke bathi bandwendwela uLouis Botha, inkulumbuso yaloo maxesha. Baqhankqalaza baya eBloemfontein beqhankqalazela ukunyanzeliswa ukuba mabaphathe amapasi.

Ngexesha lemfazwe yesibini yehlabathi, apho ootata babengekho ukuze bondle iintsapho, oomama bayithathela kubo into yokondla intsapho zabo ngokwenza umngcelele woqhankqalazo baye kwimizi-mveliso yokudla bayokuthabatha ukudla ngenkani.

Umqulu oqulathe iimfuno zoomama wathi waqulunqwa kwiminyaka engaphambili yoqulunqo loMqulu weNkululeko, ngoko ke kwaqala oomama. Ngo-1943 i-ANC Women's League yathi yabunjwa ngamakhosikazi afana nooLilian Ngoyi, ooIda Mtwana, ooZainad Asvat athi adlala inxaxheba enkulu. Baninzi ngekhe ndibagqibe ukubabala aboomama, ndingagqiba ixesha lam.


Today as the entire country dedicates August to celebrate women's achievements, some in our midst choose to insult women leadership credentials of good standing gained through much pain and suffering over a long period of time in our history. An all-male provincial cabinet that is appointed with no sound justification in this day and age is an insult to our history. [Applause.] As if this was not enough, an hon Member of Parliament from the same political party added salt to our wounds recently by describing women as only useful for domestic work in the kitchen.

As the women's parliamentary caucus we must support each other irrespective of political affiliation. I have just returned from Botswana for a SADC mission. I was sent by this Parliament to Botswana to assist women there with representation in their parliament. The requirement as also set out by SADC is that we must strive to get fifty-fifty representation. I made a pronouncement there that here in South Africa we have 45% women representation in Parliament. However, when I came back home I was faced with what I have just alluded to.We must assist women who are in political parties which do not recognise women as leaders.


Liphelile ixesha lokuba masiye ekhitshini.


When putting emphasis on the theme for this year: "Together Empowering Women for Development and Gender Equality", President Zuma reminded us that, I quote:

This theme acknowledges that while measures have been taken to generally impact positively on the lives of women and the girl-child, a number of challenges still remain especially with regard to the implementation of programmes to transform attitudes and harmful practices that manifest themselves against women and the girl-child.

President Zuma further urges us:

... to look beyond our leaders and appreciate the role of women who are never in the news, but who make South Africa succeed.

These include the working class women in the factories who work for long hours to support their families; rural women and farmworkers who toil the soil for food and shelter; women who run households and raise children single-handedly in difficult socioeconomic situations; and grandmothers who look after orphaned and vulnerable grandchildren under conditions of extreme poverty. The President reminded us to also honour and empower these women whose silent contributions to the social stability of our country are often taken for granted.


Ndiye ndalibala ukuthi phakathi kwaba bantwana, ndikhunjuzwa kukujonga kule nto yam ndiyibhalileyo, kukho othe ene-14 leminyaka wahlukunyezwa ngokocantsi, yena nodadewabo oneminyaka eli-10, ngutata wakhe. Ngoko ke ibangathi uMongameli uyazivumisa ezi zinto, kodwa ke yinkokheli yelizwe umele ukuzazi. Kwaba bantwana ukhona obalekileyo kuba utata emhlukumeza emenza unkosikazi wakhe.


Even the mother ran away from home.


Esa skolo sigcine nkqu nodade wala mntwana.


In our rich history there have been many ordinary women who have never been adequately recognised for showing great leadership capabilities during trying times. Such unsung heroines include Dora Tamara who organised activism in a squatter camp called Blouvlei in Cape Town, and Julia Mpanze who was very active in organising marches against the shortage of housing for women in Johannesburg in the 1940s. We also know that other women organised marches in kwaNdonga Ziyaduma [Johannesburg] where they were fighting for buses.


Abanye abantu bayayazi ukuba kuphi kwaNdonga Ziyaduma.


Since the dawn of democracy in our country the ANC government has made great strides towards the achievement of legislative equality between women and men. Many women have benefited from the expansion in the provision of basic services including water, electricity, sanitation and the provision of social security benefits amongst other things. Government acknowledges that more still needs to be done.


Mama uRobinson, inene yayingekho ngela xesha langaphambili into yokuba kubekho abantu abeze kusibukela. Ezi zinto zaba bantu kuthiwa banemingeni balapha namhlanje, seziza kulunga izinto. Kungatshiwo ukuba asenzi nto okanye asibaqeshi kodwa iRoma zange yakhiwe ngosuku olunye. [Kwaqhwatywa.]


Noting the importance of the social and economic empowerment of women, we must commend the Fourth Democratic Government for establishing a fully fledged ministry dedicated to serving the interests of women, children and persons with disabilities. The establishment of the new ministry is an important milestone and will go down in history as one of the key progressive steps in addressing the challenges facing women. The role of Parliament and its members, and in particular the role and responsibility of women parliamentarians, is of outmost importance in upholding and taking forward the seeds that have been sown by our heroines.

Parliament has established the multiparty women's caucus in line with, among other things, the principle contained in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. This protocol takes into account the decisions on gender parity taken by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2002. The protocol further calls for African Union member states to recognise that social, cultural and religious practices, as well as attitudes and mindsets, continue to militate against the achievement of gender equality and equity which are central to democracy and development.

Considering the progressive ideals contained in this protocol, it is important that Parliament moves with haste to ratify this protocol, particularly because South Africa is one of the few countries that have not yet ratified. It is important that this protocol is ratified before November 2009, by which time the next SADC Parliamentary Forum plenary meeting is scheduled. Ndiyabulela Mhlalingaphambili. [Time expired.] [Thank you, Chairperson.] [Applause.]



Mr S Z NTAPANE: Hon Chairperson, hon members, and our guests, the annual commemoration of Women's Day obliges one to repeat once again the observation that this day is an opportunity not merely to celebrate the many remarkable women who have made this nation great, although they certainly deserve to celebrated, nor is it merely an opportunity to sing the praises of the many women who excelled in countless positions throughout our society, although they are certainly worthy of such praise. This day must be dedicated to consider where we, as a society, continue to fail in our constitutional obligation to gender equality.

In the same breath that we salute the women who have excelled, we must express our dismay about the women who have been oppressed, abused and murdered simply because of their gender. These incidents, such as the horrific rate of rape, remind us that our legislative and policy efforts have not yet translated into a society where all men respect and treat women as their equals. An example of how far we still need to go was demonstrated this week when a defence attorney asked a victim, during court proceedings, whether she enjoyed being raped. This happened in the Eastern Cape, where I come from, unfortunately. What we require is great public awareness about gender equality, starting with leaders, including politicians, showing unwavering commitment to these principles. There is no excuse for leaders who stand on public platforms and make remarks that are derogatory about women.

Education is the key. As with all democratic values, it is vital that our children are taught at home and in school that women have an equal place in our society. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]




Dr C P MULDER: Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy President, Mr Speaker, and colleagues ...


... elke jaar vier ons Vrouemaand deur spesiale geleenthede, toesprake en die bekendmaking van spesifieke programme vir vroue. Die ANC-regering, onder die leierskap van President Zuma, het hierdie sentiment verder geneem en nou 'n Departement vir Vroue, die Jeug, Kinders en Mense met Gestremdhede daar gestel. Indien hierdie departement nie effektiewe dienste en hulp gaan verleen aan vroue nie, gaan die stap ongelukkig maar net 'n leë gebaar bly – iets wat ons nie kan toelaat nie.

Vroue het nie net mooi woorde van mans nodig nie, maar absolute dade. Vroue toets mans aan die dade wat hulle verrig; en in ons land, ongelukkig, slaag mans nie hierdie toets nie. Suid-Afrika, as 'n land, tree nie beskermend teenoor sy vroue op nie. Syfers oor gesinsgeweld, geweld teen vroue en geweld teen kinders, in die algemeen, bewys dit oor en oor.

Die behandeling van vroue en die benadeling van vroue word egter nie net deur geweld getoon nie. Vroue staan dikwels laaste in die ry wanneer dit kom by die bied van geleenthede waardeur vroue hulle omstandighede kan verbeter. Meer as die helfte van Suid-Afrikaanse vroue is enkelouers en daarom die alleenbroodwinners van hulle families, wat hulle in 'n baie moeilike posisie plaas. Wanneer ons kyk na die inkomste van vroue, blyk dit dat meer vroue werkloos is en ook baie laer salarisse verdien. Daarom het die regering, asook die privaatsektor, 'n verpligting om meer geleenthede vir vroue te skep.

Dikwels word daar net lippediens aan gelykheid gegee en word vroue net gebruik om kwotas te vul. Die eintlike mag oor die omstandighede van vroue is nie in hulle hande nie. Suid-Afrika het een van die mees moderne parlementêre stelsels waar vroue gelyke geleenthede het. Die Parlement kan daarom as voorbeeld vir die Staatsdiens en die privaatsektor dien. Vroue wat hier verteenwoordigers is, moet egter van hierdie geleenthede gebruik maak om nie net vir hulle eie loopbane te werk nie, maar daadwerklik te sorg dat die werk wat hulle hier verrig tot voordeel van alle Suid-Afrikaanse vroue is. In hierdie taak sal ons, die mans van hierdie vroue, hulle met graagte wil bystaan. As mev Rajbally vandag hier was, sou sy gesê het malibongwe. [Tyd verstreke.] [Applous.]



Ms B P MABE: Mr Speaker, the ANC continues to lead the struggle for gender empowerment and equality. Today we are the only party that prides itself on having 50% female representation in both Houses and in Cabinet. [Applause.] This achievement came about as a result of a protracted struggle, which saw many women actively participating in the liberation of this country.

This being Women's Month in South Africa, we want to pay special tribute at this Joint Sitting to the first president of the ANC Women's League, Mama Charlotte Maxeke, who was also the first woman university graduate in South Africa, and to other courageous women of her generation. She was a woman who was extraordinarily intelligent and assertive, with a clear sense of patriotism and a strong commitment to the liberation of African people, women in particular. Other stalwart activists that we salute today include Mama Lilian Ngoyi, Gertrude Shope, Ida Mtwana, Helen Joseph, Dorothy Nyembe, Sophie de Bruin, Ray Alexander, Rahima Moosa - the list is endless.

Personally and on behalf of my generation, I want to take this opportunity to thank the hon member of this National Assembly Mama Bertha Gxowa for her role in and contribution to the 1956 women's march to the Union Buildings against repressive pass laws, and up until today. [Applause.] Thank you, Mama, for still going strong and being committed to this revolution, and we are happy that you have lived long enough to see freedom in our lifetime.

We will not forget Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ... [Applause.] ... the late Albertina Sisulu, Adelaide Tambo, and many other unsung heroines of the struggle.

Our generation is faced, equally, with many gender and related struggles ahead, as past generations have alluded to. Ours is to intensify the struggle for the total liberation of domestic workers, rape victims, rural women and other vulnerable groups. This can only be achieved when women work as a collective towards achieving these noble goals. Working together we can do more. [Applause.]

Those of us in the ANC will continue to strengthen the Women's League and progressive civil-society groups to ensure the hegemony of the liberation of women from all forms of oppression, be they patriarchy, discrimination, abuse, and overdomination by either gender. In particular, we will intensify the struggle against disease, poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment.

This past week we saw the worst form of discrimination by international sporting bodies, which we condemn unequivocally as South African people. We add our voices as women in Parliament and say, "Hands off Caster Semenya! Hands off!" [Applause.] Such a barbaric act is very distasteful, leads to anger and represents reversals of the gains made by women so far.

Similarly, we firmly denounce the recent killing of a female school principal in the Western Cape by criminals, and call upon our security cluster to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book speedily.

Madam Zille is indeed a disappointment. [Applause.] How dare she consider an only-male cabinet. She is an oppressor who is against the women's struggle. Down with Zille, down! [Applause.] Women of the Western Cape have been insulted and we must assist them in waging a struggle against this monster woman. [Interjections.] We will not rest until Zille listens to the voices of the women of this province. [Interjections.] The Western Cape is not a republic; rather it is a province of South Africa, and you shall not do as you wish in this country. [Interjections.] [Applause.] You are equally subject to the same Constitution and other laws of the rest of our province. Malibongwe! [Applause.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Order, hon members! Order! Order! Order! Mr Ellis?

Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I have certainly been in this House for some time and I have heard some extraordinary speeches before. I do rise on a point of order, Sir. I want to say that I believe it is totally unparliamentary for the hon member to refer to the Leader of the DA as "that monster woman". [Interjections.] [Applause.]

Mr Chairman, I have little doubt that the Deputy President and the Speaker of the House and you, Sir, are deeply concerned about the particular attitude that has suddenly been generated in this debate. [Interjections.] But the point remains that that hon member insulted the Leader of the DA in a shocking way and she should be made to withdraw that statement. [Interjections.] [Applause.]


Adv T M MASUTHA: Chairperson, may I address you on the point of order? The hon Ellis knows very well that the point of order he is raising is actually not a point of order. It is a point of argument. There is nothing in the Rules that prohibits that because the said person is not a member of this House.

Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, Mr Masutha absolutely amazes me because he is a lawyer. He knows and understands these things. He knows that you cannot go around insulting members of the public ... [Interjections.] ... public representatives generally in the way that he has now.

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Order, Mr Ellis! Would you take your seat.

Hon members, we have been having a very high level, good debate this afternoon, and I do not want you to spoil that. Could we keep the mood to that? Let the debate continue, please. [Interjections.] I'm not ruling anybody out of order. [Applause.] Let's continue.

Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, on a point of order: I believe that what the hon member said about the Leader of the DA is unparliamentary. I am asking you to make a ruling on that, Sir.

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: No. I'm not making a ruling on anything. I don't think it's unparliamentary. If there is anything unparliamentary, we'll check the words and then we can make a ruling.

Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I need to know that at least you will check it, Sir, and report back to us. [Interjections.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I will check it. We will check it. I now recognise the hon Dudley.



Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, Women's Month is a good time to appreciate and celebrate wives, mothers, gogos, sisters, daughters and aunts.

The ACDP would like to see women stand up for what is right and uphold family values at home and in the community. The ACDP is aware of Parliament's constant efforts to facilitate the empowerment of women for gender development and equality. Sadly, the results do not adequately reflect the efforts.

The ACDP is of the opinion that there would be a greater impact if we refrained from separating women, youth, children and men, and dealt with issues from the perspective of the family and what is good for the family. Women cannot be separated from the whole if we are to develop and experience equality. No issues are exclusively women's issues, nor, for that matter, exclusively men's or youth issues. Women should be heard on all issues.

In this regard, Parliament contributes significantly in ensuring that the voices of women are not drowned out and that women across the country have access to Parliament and its processes in the same measure that men do.

Following this year's election, South Africa has also risen from thirteenth to third place in the global ranking of women in Parliament.

Maternal, child and women's health is still of great concern in South Africa, as each year 1 600 women die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Twenty thousand babies die before they are a month old. Seventy thousand children die before the age of five, and, according to statistics, 20 000 babies are stillborn.

Shockingly, this Parliament has bought into the deception that the way out of this dilemma is for women to choose not to carry their babies to full term, and hundreds and thousands of babies are being destroyed in their mothers' wombs as well. When we devalue human life, we devalue women.

Staggering numbers of orphans, child-headed households, children living in poverty, child abuse and violent crimes against children are a grave reflection of a society in crisis. Children are a gift from God. Every child is precious and must be valued and cared for. We will not value women if we do not value our children.

Women in South Africa need to be appreciated and supported. Of course, when we learn to value ourselves, and recognise our own worth - not only collectively but individually - men may be empowered to begin to do the same. Thank you. [Applause.]




Mrs P DE LILLE: Chairperson, hon members, it is Women's Month again, just as it was last year and the year before. Again we remember and pay respect to those heroines who braved oppression and took on the Strijdom administration in the name of freedom.

We will again and again hear the same statistics, the same problems, and the same challenges facing women in speeches after speeches this year. When will we, who have benefited from this freedom, begin to help the less fortunate women also obtain their rights?

Women's Day allows us to celebrate our heroines of the past and reminds us of the fearlessness and determination with which we must face the future.

But we must also not forget the heroines of today. Caster Semenye, you have made it possible for girls and women all over our country and continent to dream bigger dreams, because you have shown them that anything is possible. [Applause.] We are proud of you, because your race was not just against world-class athletes, but also against the additional menaces of discrimination and sexism. In spite of these tremendous challenges, you ran your race and you won.

I would like to call on all women of our country to claim their constitutional rights, just as Caster claimed her medal, with dignity and tenacity. Only then will we be able to overcome that which threatens daily to break us down: poverty, violence and discrimination.

As women, we need to stand up and be the leaders in the battles we face. We cannot sit back and wait on others to fight for us.

Legislation, the Constitution, the Equality Act have freed us all on paper, but only those in the upper echelons of our society are able to turn this into reality, leaving poor and rural women to continue to suffer the burdens of our society.

Today, I therefore call on all those women who have benefited - all of us in the House who have benefited from this freedom - to find ways in which to help less fortunate women obtain their rights. Thank you. [Applause.]




Mrs E C VAN LINGEN: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members and honourable women up there, today our theme is "Together empowering women for gender development and equality". "Together"! But we lost the plot a minute ago!

I want to say that the DA is shocked at what the hon Mabe, of the ANC, said about the leader of the DA. [Interjections.] If the DA were to call the hon Jacob Zuma - who is also not a member of this House - a monster, the ANC would be horrified and shocked, as we are. [Interjections.] [Applause.] So, we are therefore calling on the leadership of the ANC to take appropriate action against the hon Mabe. [Applause.]

It is the duty of every single woman sitting here today to ensure that we are empowering women. It is not only the job of our hon Minister and her new department. We can start looking at what we as women do in this House or the two Houses of Parliament, where we are empowered and where we have to empower women together.

Now, you might remember an advert from a while ago in which Charlize Theron said: "Real men don't rape." The advert was withdrawn as it insulted men. But let me remind you that Helen Zille, at the beginning of this parliamentary session, asked for all of us to equal before the law ... [Interjections.] ... and that we, as political leaders, should lead by example. She was viciously attacked because she stood up for women. All she said ... [Interjections.] ... was that we must all be equal before the law, and don't mess with us women and our lives as wives. [Applause.]

So, hon members, together, our first rule must be to take the double out of our standards when we want to live gender development and equality. Then, we want to plead for an opportunity for our young girls to study rather than to have babies before they are 21 years old. We should reward them accordingly with incentives such as an education grant. We should promote the concept of "Me, my education and my life opportunities first."

Then, young women with children battle without maintenance payments. Real men actually pay maintenance, and we have to ensure that maintenance payments are enforced. These maintenance payment violators should have their nonpayment convictions lodged against their identity numbers, so that those convictions form part of their criminal records and creditworthiness.

Rape-victim support must be comprehensively packed; it cannot just be a one-night stand or a window-dressing presence. Together with this, we need to reopen the specialised units in the Police Service that were so sadly closed.

Then, I wholeheartedly agree with the Minister: bring statutory rape charges against any adult man who sleeps with or has sex with an underage girl, regardless of whether it was consensual or not. Thank you.

Hon Speaker, hon members, we are all in agreement at this point that we will be responsible together for the empowerment of women for gender development and equality. We will be responsible for and accountable to the women, children and people with disabilities of South Africa, by creating a prosperous environment, together, that is uniquely South African, in which our women and children can be free, secure and equal before the law and in which everyone has the means to improve the quality of his life or pursue her own aspirations.

Hon Speaker, hon members, this is the real open-opportunity society we must implement. I thank you. [Applause.]



Ms N P KHUNOU: Deputy Chairperson, Deputy President, hon Ministers, hon Members of Parliament, distinguished guests, I would like to say to the hon Van Lingen that she should not compare the incomparable. [Interjections.]

It is indeed an honour for me to participate in this important debate on National Women's Day, the theme of which is: "Together empowering women for gender development and equality". My focus is on women and religion. When President Zuma addressed a faith-based organisation called the National Interfaith Leaders Council, the NILC, which he congratulated and put his weight behind, he emphasised the fact that 80% of South Africans are spiritual and that therefore we need to take spirituality seriously and inculcate co-operation among people of God.

Indeed, regardless of whether we call him Jah, like the Rastafarians, or refer to God in terms of Garveynism, or refer to God as Abaraka as the Greeks do, or to Jahism or Karaism, God – the divine light and spirit – dwells within each and every person. The majority of us believe that somewhere up there, there is a body overlooking us and protecting us. I would like to reiterate what our President said: that we need to mobilise our society or faith-based groups from local to provincial levels to join the National Interfaith Leaders Council that I spoke about earlier.

Our society needs revival; healing. We need to bring back moral values and ubuntu. We need to find ourselves and make peace with the inner person that lives inside of us. To achieve the above, we need to use our places of worship to correct the injustices of the past like illiteracy.

How can we do this outside women? This is the wisdom behind God creating women in order to complete the circle of creation.


Re na le bagaka le dikgosi, tsotlhe tse di ka se fitlhelelwe ntle le mosadi. Modimo o dira metlholo. Bomme ba bonolo, fela ke baitsanape. Motswana are: mmangwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng. Fa nkabo mme a seyo, re ka bo re le ba ga mang wee!


The history of the ANC and the church is inseparable. The ANC is a broad church to all African traditional spirituality. Hindus, Jews, Christians, Muslims and many others are all found in the ANC. Solving the problems of poverty and greed, violence and corruption, is a deeply spiritual challenge. The Reverend Henry Reed Nqacayiya, the first Chaplain General of the ANC, and Charlotte Manya-Maxeke were amongst the founders of the ANC. Let me join other women who have said that we need to praise Comrade Charlotte. We cannot do that without making sure that we keep her spirit alive by bringing back family values and building our families as a country, and, by so doing, bringing respect back into our societies.

In order to understand fully the status of women in a particular religious tradition, it is helpful to consider the views held within that tradition: the character of the divine human nature, the function of the clergy, and the nature of marriage. To expand on this I would like to explain further the story of creation in the holy Bible after God created men and women. He didn't do this to promote competition and dominion but for the beings to comprehend one another, not to abuse, oppress or victimise one another. It was spoken by the prophet Joel that daughters would prophesy.

Time is essential when it comes to women. She steps in her appointed time and she is unstoppable. It is important for our men to understand that we do not want to replace or displace them, but that we want to fulfil the purpose of multiplication and usher in a dispensation of supernatural movement of God.

Let me end by quoting Wangari Maathai, a legend, a Nobel prize winner in 2004, an environmentalist, a believer, a member of the Kenyan parliament, who, when she was interviewed on Christian ethical values, said: Christians believe God should be feared – that that is what people think about God - that he punishes, but in reality he is a loving God in whom we should be rejoicing ... many of the problems we fear: hunger, disease, are not punishment from the good, loving God, but rather our failure to utilise the resources that the good, loving God gave us. Let us love our neighbour, accept who we are, respect others.

I would like to say that we need more chaplains in our prisons. We need to see more women preaching on TV. As a person from the Free State, I would also like to congratulate ...


... mogaka wa rona Mme Mmantsopa, kgaitsadia Kgosi Moshoeshoe. O ne a kobiwa ka ntlha ya gore kgosi e ne e bona o kare o a e gatelela, mme a ya go nna mo legageng kwa Moddepoort. Ke ka moo ke reng, basadi ke baitseanape. Gompieno batho botlhe ba tswa Aforika Borwa ka bophara go ya go rapela kwa legageng leo.

Re seka ra lebala hisitori ya bomme le dilo tse re di direng botlhe. A re netefatseng gore re busetsa tlotlo mo baneng ba rona. Bagolo ba tlotle bana le bana ba tlotle bagolo. Rona re le bomme, re le baeteledipele mo Palamenteng a re aganeng fa phoso e tlhagile. Le wena fa o agiwa o seka wa bua gore o tlile mo Palementeng gonne o le mogolo. A re reetseng batho ba bangwe gonne motho ke motho ka batho ba bangwe.


I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs M N MATLADI / LB (Eng)/ag (Tswana)/ END OF TAKE


Ms M N MATLADI: Hon Deputy Speaker, the inclusion of gender equality and women's empowerment as the third Millennium Development Goal is a reminder that fighting persistent inequalities between women and men is not over.

There are seven strategic priorities that require action to achieve this goal. They include guaranteeing women's and girl's property and inheritance rights; strengthening opportunities for secondary education of girls while meeting commitments to universal primary education; guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health rights; investing in infrastructure to reduce women's and girl's time burdens; eliminating gender inequalities in employment by decreasing women's reliance on informal employment, closing gender gaps in earnings and reducing occupational segregation; increasing women's share of seats in Parliament, legislatures and in local government bodies; and, combating violence against girls and women.

The national community has the knowledge and technology to reduce gender inequalities and empower women. Political commitment at the highest national levels is needed to institute policies and allocate the resources necessary to achieve a world where women are healthy, safe and empowered to control their own destinies.

To make change happen and to empower women and reduce gender disparities, government and organisations must set the tone and create the environment to make this happen. With adequate space and resources, women's organisations can help transform societies in ways that remove women's constraints, guarantee their rights, and allow women to fulfil their potential.

Colleen Morna summed it all up when she maintained:

Gender equality is about providing a voice to the poor and marginalised, who often are women. We need leaders who are responsive and accountable to the needs of women.


Re le UCDP ra re, mosadi tshwene o jewa mabogo; motse o lapeng; mmagwana o amuwa le fa a sule; mme re fetse ka e sa tswang go buiwa ke modiri ka nna e e reng, mmagwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng. Ra re golang bomme ka letsatsi le, golang. [Legofi.]





Mnur L B G NDABANDABA: Sihlalo, Sekela likaMongameli, oNgqogqoshe, omama bonke abahleli laphaya esitezi kanye nezingane, siyishayela ihlombe inkulumo kaNgqongqoshe osivulele le nkundla ngesizotha, nangomfutho kanye nomdlandla onenkosi phakathi.


I want to assure this House that I condemn "ukuthwala" and I am going to talk about ukuthwala as a criminal phenomenon. When I talk about ukuthwala, I can assure this House that I have never thwalaed any women. [Applause.]

Having said that, on this the 2009 Women's Month, I want to reiterate that indeed without mothers this world would not be what it is today. [Applause.] I say this from personal experience because my father left this world when I was five years of age and my mother, who was a domestic servant, managed to bring me up and make me what I am today. [Applause.]

I want to use the 10 minutes given to me to condemn the practice of "ukuthwala" which lowers the dignity and integrity of women. One of the ways to empower women therefore in my view, is to fight vigorously against this "groot gogga" called "ukuthwala". "Ukuthwala" can be freely translated to mean to carry. You usually carry something that is not living, so obviously when you carry a living person that is an insult.

The procedure of "ukuthwala" is as follows: The intending bridegroom with one or more friends will waylay the intended and targeted damsel in the neighbourhood of her own kraal or home, usually late in the day towards sunset or at early dusk, and forcibly take her to the young man's home. Sometimes the girl iscaught unawares, but in other instances she may be caught according to plan – orchestrated.

In either case she will, of course, put up resistance to convince onlookers that it is all against her and her family's will. Clearly "ukuthwala" is one of the methods of concluding a marriage forcibly, but it also therefore constitutes a crime by way of abduction or statutory rape, according to the law of the land.

The important fact is that in rural areas "ukuthwala" is not viewed by rural villagers as a forced marriage; it is viewed as one of the methods of getting married. We therefore have a big fight to remove that kind of mentality.

I want to refer to one of the researchers who said:

Given their strong commitment to spousal consent, the colonial authorities, over the years, were bound to take up the cause of unwilling brides. Hence, in the erstwhile Transkei, forced marriages became prohibited and the guardians sanctioning them were subject to criminal penalties. Also, in the erstwhile Natal, which is now KwaZulu-Natal, the official witness had to attend a customary wedding where he was obliged to ask the wife whether she was marrying of her own free will, which I think was important.

Of late, the necessity for the consent of the bride has been put beyond any doubt in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, Act 120 of 1998. According to this Act, the consent of both prospective spouses of a customary marriage is necessary for the validity of the marriage.

There is no doubt therefore that the genuine formation of a marriage is the essence of "ukuthwala" in the minds of the village dwellers. In some instances, for example, the suitor – the boy - is not even present when "ukuthwala" takes place. Usually, in these cases, he will send either his brothers or his cousins to thwala the lady on his behalf. This happened in Mkokobane v Mngqumazi (1947 NAC (C&O) 41), a case from Bizana in the erstwhile Transkei. The bridegroom in this case went to work in Natal and left instructions with his brother to negotiate a marriage between him and the defendant's sister, Nomaqgiza. One Nyobela then went alone and thwalaed Nomagqiza and left her at the home of the brother. The brother paid lobola on his behalf when he was at work and then Nomagqiza remained there despite the absence of her husband, patiently awaiting his return from work. So in her mind she was already a wife.

In another interesting case, Dyongo v Nani, 1911, a case from Idutywa, also in the Eastern Cape, the girl's brother himself suggested that the girl be "thwalaed" as a preliminary to the marriage proposed by the suitor.

Finally, in another interesting case, in Zamana v Bilitane 2 (NAC 114 (1911)), a case from Port St Johns, the parents encouraged "ukuthwala" as a preliminary to her marriage. I am sure the parents today would say this was horrible, and I also say it is horrible.

Another interesting custom related to "ukuthwala" is "ukubaleka". When I grew up somewhere in northern KwaZulu-Natal, my grandfather used to tell me stories in which a girl would "baleka". "Ukubaleka" means the girl runs away to a certain home because that particular man has a lot of cattle. Then the man would say, "Funelani nganeno", the father would go there, find the girl there and lobola would be paid, and then he gets rich. This is not actually "ukuthwala" but it is in a sense related.

To summarise my small contribution to Women's Month, I want to say that if we look at "ukuthwala" today, it implies that women are minors; women are properties. I want to say that the ANC says women are no longer minors, are no longer perpetual minors and will never be perpetual minors again. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs P C DUNCAN / GG (Zul)/ag(Tswana)/VM(Eng) /END OF TAKE


Mrs P C DUNCAN: Chairperson, hon members and, of course, our special guest here today, the red looks nice, the green looks nice and the blue especially looks nice. One nation, one future! Viva, Helen Zille! Viva! [Applause.]

I am reminded of a beautiful quote which has stuck with me, and it is: "If you have come to help me, please go home. But if you have come because your liberation is somehow bound with mine, then we may work together."

Our liberation is bound together. We need to remember that South Africa witnessed not only a single liberation but two: one for its people and one for its women. We emerged from these separate liberations as one and are bound together as one. Let us never again oppress another, be it man of man, woman of woman, or man of woman. We are all equal.

In response to the selected theme for the debate on national Women's Month being "Together empowering women for gender development and equality", I wish to contribute as follows. Firstly, we are challenged to provide service delivery with excellence that includes the needs of women and that practically translates into visible change in terms of the equality of opportunity and benefit.

The following statistics provide reasons for the need for such delivery. Generally women with disabilities constitute a larger percentage than that of men with disabilities and nondisabled women who are unemployed. The employment of persons with disabilities in the Public Service remains problematic and is still standing at 0,2%, indicating that the target of 2% set by Cabinet for March 2010 will not be met. Limited information is available with regard to statistics in the private sector on employment of persons with disabilities.

A report by the Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project highlights the results of a study conducted in Gauteng that among the Zimbabweans who fled their homes for South Africa, 40% were women, and that only 2% of those who applied for refugee status had been granted it.

Women face challenges in accessing land. Even though they produce 80% of crops, they only own 1% of land.

The World Prison Brief indicates that on 30 April 2009, a total of 164 596 persons were incarcerated in correctional facilities throughout South Africa, with female prisoners constituting 2,2% of the total prison population. The types of programmes offered to women in comparison with those of their male counterparts are reinforcing gender stereotypes. These are some of the real hard-core issues that the Ministry, together with the department, is confronted with.

We are challenged with sharing skills, knowledge, expertise and financial resources more equitably between the three spheres of government, from both the political and administrative point of view. With this in mind, Minister Mayende-Sibiya, I agree with you when you said in your speech to the National Assembly on 24 June 2009 that you and your department will work with other departments, provincial and local government, the private sector, labour and civil society in mainstreaming issues relating to targeted groups, one of which is women. This is indeed necessary as the bulk of resources continues to be within all other departments in the different spheres of government, nongovernmental organisations and the private sector.

The role and responsibilities of all departments does not suddenly disappear with the emergence of this new Ministry. However, the responsibilities rest with the whole of government if this new Ministry wishes to make a success of the issues of women empowerment.

As the DA, we welcome the new Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. As much as we are cognisant of the various challenges facing the new Ministry, I would also like to stress that as the official opposition we will be diligent in speaking out if progress is slow and opportunity and benefit do not materialise for women and other targeted groups; if there appears to be a tendency of turf protection at the expense of an obvious need for an intersectoral intervention; if relationships between political leaders and officials are destructive and hamper progress; and if co-ordination in terms of sharing skills, knowledge, expertise and resources between the spheres of government is poor. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]



Ms L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of the two Houses, invited guests in the gallery, ngiyanibingelela nonkhe bekunene. [I greet you all, ladies and gentlemen.]


Angitsatse lelitfuba ngihalalisele Intfombi Yegolide, Caster Semenya, lobuye abe ngumake losemncane. [Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the Golden Girl, who is also a young woman.] Sitsi: Halala kuwe Semenya! Halala! [We say: Halala to you Semenya! Halala!]


Mrs L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE: Siyatigcabha ngawe. [We are proud of you.]


The democratisation of South African society has offered many new opportunities and challenges to previously disadvantaged groups. Young women in particular are recognised as a vital resource whose future prospects are tied to that of the country as a whole.

Women have, with only love and inspiration, carried society through the good and bad times, pushing its values forward so that people could take their rightful place in history. Who are these young women?

They are the girl-children and young women who have worked behind the scenes carrying their siblings forward, including child-headed households. We should be able to honour the role played by these young women in an attempt to find ways to define them as an important force behind every society. These women deserve a place in history.

We have seen all over the world that the education of the girl-child is of critical importance, and countries that see the education of girls as a priority have shown economic growth over the past 30 years. Furthermore, we have seen that GDP growth per capita has soared, illustrating that the role of women should never be undermined. India is a prime example.

Women represent more than half of the South African population, and if South Africa is to meet its developmental goals, developmental measures initiated by government would need to target women, specifically young women because they constitute a large number. However, these developmental measures would need to speak to the various obstacles that hamper the economic development of women. These issues include poverty, access to housing, and access to proper healthcare, social welfare, and violence against women, education and employment.

These issues are important because they provide the framework within which governmental endeavours should be channelled and highlight the importance and the need to economically empower women in South Africa. Women must be at the forefront.

Young women must occupy the front ranks of the struggle to ensure equal access for women to educational, health, social welfare, sports, cultural and recreational facilities.

They must lead the struggle against HIV and Aids, rape, physical and other forms of abuse and other such practices that oppress and exploit women. They must fight for their rights and dignity, both in word and deed.

Women must raise the level of political and social consciousness, responsibility and activism of young women to ensure that they are active in women's organisations, including progressive women's movements.

They must support the Progressive Women's Movement and ensure that it succeeds in discharging its historic responsibility as the champion and custodian of women's unity. Such organisations can be utilised to raise to prominence the issues and challenges faced by young women.

Young women in South Africa must make use of many opportunities that are now available as a result of our freedom and democracy to empower themselves and their communities. Society has absolute confidence in women's abilities to be both good and efficient leaders in society and in government. The task of empowering young women to take up leadership roles in all sectors of society demands that we work together in tandem to build a society that will take women forward.

It is our collective responsibility as young women leaders, especially in this Parliament, to ensure that the young women in the communities we come from are guided along the way.

Despite its short life, democratic South Africa has achieved significant milestones towards improving the status of women in all aspects of society, in government, in business and in community structures. This is in keeping up with the provisions of our Constitution which enshrine the rights of all people in our country to dignity and equality before the law and nondiscrimination.

However, the progress we have made so far should not induce in us a feeling of complacency. Society is transforming and the developmental process is forging ahead. Within this context, the democratic era has opened up many avenues that were inaccessible before.

The Constitution guarantees equality in the Bill of Rights. The gender disparities are common across the entire breadth of our society.

In the period between 1997 and 2000, the National Youth Commission developed the National Youth Policy, a further element of government's plan to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the challenges facing young women in South Africa.

The policy's main aim was to ensure that the country begins a historic process of engaging our youth in sustainable social development programmes.

The policy had, among other goals, the following: to instil in all young women an awareness of, respect for and active commitment to the Bill of Rights and the values enshrined in the Constitution, a clear sense of their national identity; to recognise and promote the participation and contribution of young women in the reconstruction and development of South Africa; to enable young women to initiate actions that promote their own development and that of their communities.

In conclusion, our young women leaders should continue to draw inspiration from the 1976 youth to ensure that their collective voice shapes the future of South Africa. [Applause.] Today young women should continue to have their collective voice heard in matters of democracy and social change in order to bring about a better life for all. The baton is in our hands as young women, as young mothers and as future leaders to take this up the struggle to transform society to our advantage. I thank you. [Applause.]


///tfm/// END OF TAKE


The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Madam Deputy Speaker, Mr Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, members of both Houses, our guests in the gallery from all political parties, religious groupings, and I also greet all women in our country in this month of August ... [Applause.] As a very new ministry of three months old, the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities is happy that we are having this debate today as we round up what has been a very successful and vibrant Women's Month under the theme "Together empowering women for development and gender equality".

I want to salute our stalwarts, omama bethu, our mothers, our grandmothers, who passed on the baton to this generation, this generation of women, young and old, who must forge ahead for a better South Africa. I remember umama Albertina Sisulu, and she is still alive. I remember and salute umama Winnie Mandela, umama uBertha Gxowa nabo bonke omama elizweni lethu, and those unsung heroines who continued to slog under very difficult conditions, trying to improve the lives of their families and themselves.

During this month of August, we have held various types of activities to observe Women's Month in almost every province with the exception, unfortunately, of the Western Cape. In this province, we the most primitive statement was made by a member of the Western Cape legislature about the status of women in our society. Johan Visser of the DA told the legislature that a woman's place was in the kitchen, and I want to declare that a woman's place is everywhere in terms of power. [Applause.]

We strongly condemn this statement, especially in a province where all members, or the majority of members of the executive, are men. It is a setback for the women of this province who are constantly being excluded from the progress that the whole of our country is making in mitigating the debilitating effects of patriarchy and improving the status of women in our country. Some of the positive developments for women of our country have been in the increase of the number of women represented in our legislature after our last general elections. Women now make up 45% of our national Parliament. This puts South Africa at number three amongst countries with the highest representation of women in national parliament ... [Applause.]... after Rwanda and Sweden. It is important to acknowledge that this progress has been as a result of one political party, the ANC, taking a voluntary decision within its own structures to have 50/50 gender representation.

Had all the political parties represented in Parliament agreed to 50% representation, we would have achieved the 50% women representation as set out in the Southern African Development Community's protocol on development and gender.

We need firm commitment and a legislative framework compelling all political parties and all sectors of our society to gender parity. That is the legislation that the new ministry is developing for consideration by this House. Once again, the reports of the Employment Equity Commission, released this week, highlight the challenge of poor representation of women at management level. This report confirms an urgent need for legislation with strong enforcement mechanisms and punitive measures to achieve gender and racial transformation, particularly in the private sector.

Madam Deputy Speaker, another key area of development for women, following the last general elections, has been the establishment of the new Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities as a direct result of the struggle of women themselves. It is now up to all of us as women to ensure that we use this institution to our best advantage.

The issue of the inclusion of children and persons with disabilities in this new portfolio has been raised, and I'm glad that hon Minister Motshekga dealt with this matter, but I want to raise a few issues. Firstly, from a structural perspective, there is no need to worry about whether the issues of women will be mixed up in some way and attention to women emancipation lost. The new department will have three equally strong divisions focusing on addressing the interests of each three focus groups that the Ministry is responsible for. Each division will be headed by a senior official at the level of at least deputy director-general. That person will be responsible for the co-ordination of issues relating to that particular sector throughout government and in the Ministry's relationship with civil society, international bodies and other sectors.

The Ministry acknowledges that the challenges facing the three groups are not the same, and separate programmes are being put in place to promote the interests of each group. I must reassure you that none of the target groups is going to be neglected as a result of an overemphasis on another sector. My role will be to ensure that we make progress on all these fronts. From a political perspective, we must remember that our struggle against both racism and sexism has been underlined by the principle of unity around a common programme for social, political and economic justice.

From 1912, as other speakers indicated earlier, women called for the unity of all South Africans across class, gender and racial lines against colonialism and also against apartheid. In 1956 such unity manifested itself in the march of women of all races to the Union Buildings to protest pass laws, and today we salute them because they struggled so that we could be here today.

Those opposed to the inclusion of other social groups in the activities of the new Ministry need to unpack what this statement means. And I want to ask the following questions: Can we honestly say that there is no commonality between women's struggles against sexual violence, as an example, and the cases of rape, murder and abuse faced by girl-children? Is there no link between girl-children challenges to access to education and the problems of skills and lack of access to economic participation facing women today?

Are the programmes to raise all our children with principles of equality and nonsexism not going to impact positively on the women's struggle against patriarchy in our society? What do we do with women with disabilities? Are they not part of the women's movement? We will make efforts to ensure the inclusion of women with disabilities in all our women empowerment programmes.

Of course, there will be diversions in the interests of the three social groups represented by the new Ministry, and their priorities will vary. However, this is accommodated in the structural arrangements that are being put in place in the new department. We should also be supported by appropriate budgetary allocations to all the three programme areas. As some of you may be aware, the Ministry has already had separate consultations with the three groups in a process to agree on the strategic priorities for the new ministry, and consensus is emerging. We do want to go to provinces and local government to interact with them at that level.

In the area of women, the key issues agreed upon during consultation with women's groups include, firstly, the enforcement of the 50/50 gender parity that I have already spoken about. Secondly, there is the establishment of a Women's Empowerment Fund to facilitate funding for women-empowerment initiatives. There is still a concern that the existing empowerment funds are either inaccessible to ordinary women or are not structured to enable women in rural areas to break the shackles of poverty. We are targeting those women on the periphery of the economy.

Thirdly, there is an urgent need to respond to the challenges of violence against women. And I know that we have started work with the mayor of O R Tambo and other stakeholders, amakhosi at Lusikisiki and in the Eastern Cape, to ensure that there is a programme that this matter is really given the attention that it deserves, the issue of ukuthwala kwa bantwana. [Applause.]

This includes preventative measures empowering women to report cases of abuse, mobilisation of community action against these incidents and improving police ability to respond to these cases. And I am glad that there is already interaction between us and the police Ministry of Police in this regard. Lastly, we need to ensure gender mainstreaming. This means ensuring that all government priority programmes, such as job creation, poverty alleviation and access to health and education incorporate the interests of women.

The challenges facing women are many, and we are concerned by the treatment of one of our young women. Caster Semenya is an example of the difficulties of sexism. The questioning of her gender is based on a stereotypical view of physical features and abilities that are attributed to women. Such stereotypes demonstrate the extent of patriarchy within the world of sport. We want to congratulate her on her amazing victory, as well as the whole team. [Applause.]

As the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities, we will be following this matter right up to the end, and we will stand by Caster all the way through. We have already written to the President of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, IAAF, Mr Lamine Diack, and the secretary, Mr Weiss, demanding an explanation of a number of issues relating to this matter. We demand transparency from the world body of sport about the sequence of events that led to Semenya's gender being subjected to such unjustified scrutiny. It is our view that her human rights were grossly violated.

We need to mobilise all the support and complement each other's efforts if we are to succeed in our struggle against patriarchy. The women's movement should continue to facilitate the unity that is necessary to sustain and advance the struggle for a nonsexist, nonracist, inclusive and caring society.

We have got to work together with the Progressive Women's Movement, whose establishment and launch was heralded by those heroines who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956. It is ours; it belongs to all of us who understand the progressive agenda of transforming our country into a better one. I thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.





The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order, hon members! I promised, earlier on, that I would relook at a point of order that was raised by Mr Ellis, and now I want to give a ruling on it.

I wish to address the Joint Sitting on the point of order raised by Mr Ellis concerning a remark that was made by Ms B Mabe in relation to the leader of the DA, who is also the Premier of the Western Cape.

It is important to note that the Premier of the Western Cape has the potential to be a member of the Joint Sitting as a special delegate. This would be the case with regard to all members of provincial legislatures. The reference to Ms Zille as "a monster" in no way enhances the debate or the decorum of Parliament. The statement by Ms Mabe is therefore out of order and should be withdrawn. [Applause.]

I therefore call upon Ms Mabe to withdraw the statement.

Ms B P MABE: Hon Chairperson, I know for sure that in the DA they are highly educated. [Interjections.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order, hon member! I said for you to withdraw your statement, please.

Ms B P MABE: I withdraw. [Applause.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you. Order!




The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Chairperson. Hon members, that concludes the business of the Joint Sitting.


Ndifuna ukuthatha eli thuba ndibulele amalungu ezi ziNdlu zombini ngokuxhasa le mini ibaluleke kangaka. Kwakhona, ndifuna ukubulela amakhosikazi amaninzi ahleli apha kule galari. Xa ndijonga macala onke, ndibona amakhosikazi ekudala erhuqa kulo mzabalazo, esenza igalelo, elenze ukuba sibe silapha kule ndawo sikuyo namhlanje.

Ndibulela nangakumbi uSodolophu kaMasipala weSithili saseO R Tambo, uMama uCapa, kunye negqiza lakhe. [Kwaqhwatywa.] Ndibulela amantombazanana amancinci athe esentlungwini, aqonda ukuba xa siwabizela kweyona Ndlu ibalulekileyo eMzantsi Afrika, apho imithetho yenziwa khona, maweze aze kumamela ukuba siza kuxoxa sithini na ngawo. [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Ndiqinisekile, Sekela-Mongameli, ukuba namhlanje aza kulala exolile kuba intlungu yawo imanyelwe ngabona bantu bamele ukuba bayisombulule. Bendikhe ndanethuba lokuthetha nawo. Ngokuya bendiyiva ndikude le nto, ibingalumezi ngendlela endiyive ngayo ngexa bendihleli nabo.

Ndifuna ukungxengxeza, bantwana begazi – sibaninzi apha, zinkosi zakwaNtu. Singamakhosikazi, sikhe sathetha ngale nto, ngalaa mini siyiva ngayo. Kwaba kho igama elithi: Njengokuba le nto ilisiko nje ke, noko singamakhosikazi asiyi kuyimamela nje, koko siya kuncedisa nangemali. Kutheni singathathi indawo yaba bantwana bancinci baminyaka ili-14 nje? Xa kufunwa amakhosikazi, akhona aqinileyo noko, angangathi. [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Masibathathele, bethu! La madoda afuna abafazi maweze apha kuthi, ayeke aba bantwana bancinci.


Hon members, please note that the sitting of the National Assembly will commence in 10 minutes.

The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly adjourned the Joint Sitting at 16:10.



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