Women encouraged

Despite the strides made in South Africa over the past few years, women continue to face deep inequalities and oppression, as well as enduring struggles against patriarchy.

This was the view expressed by Sylvia Lucas, Northern Cape premier, during her keynote address for the provincial Women’s Day celebration in Douglas on Sunday (12/08).

The event was hosted ahead of the by-election contested in Ward 4 of the Siyancuma Local Municipality today (15/08).

Lucas pointed out the efforts that needed to be made to ensure that women and men in this country can live as equal beneficiaries of development.

“It is only through women’s full and equal participation in all areas of public and private life that we can achieve a sustainable, peaceful and just society as enshrined in our Constitution,” emphasised Lucas.

She called on the community to strive to teach the boy child, who will be entering manhood in future, to respect women and accept them as their equals, instead of their juniors.

She motivated this call by citing the reasons for men’s forums being established throughout the various districts in the province.

“These forums were established with the specific aim to not only grow respect between men and women, but to shape the boy of today into the responsible young man of tomorrow.

“The struggle of women today is different to the struggle of women in 1956.

“Unfortunately, this year Women’s Month takes place against a backdrop of a spate of violence and abuse against women in our country.

“Despite an array of legislation enacted to protect women, it has not translated into action on the ground.”

The premier touched on government’s call to all sectors of society to oppose any form of violence committed against women and children, and to immediately report all cases to the police in order to bring perpetrators to justice.

“As we join to celebrate women’s month, let us honour our women and children by acting together to prevent abuse and to ensure a safer society for our women and children.

“We can and must do more to prevent violence against women, support survivors of abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.

“We can no longer remain quiet when violence, injury and murder inflicted upon women and other vulnerable groups are at an alarming rate.”

In a bid to ensure that women and men can live as equal beneficiaries of development, Lucas promised to push for women’s full an equal participation in all areas of public and private life.

“Whilst there is reason to celebrate, it should be borne in mind that more can be done and more needs to be done in order to fully emancipate women.

“Women comprise the majority of the population and should become the primary beneficiaries of a growing and inclusive economy, whilst their human rights are fully protected by all spheres and societal institutions.”

Meanwhile, the DA accuses the provincial government of turning the event, which was hosted by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, into a rally for the ANC.

According to Safiyia Stanfley, federal deputy leader of the DA Women’s Network, they will request the public protector to investigate the manner in which the provincial Women’s Day event was handled.

“Delegates from the provincial government all donned ANC colours and some attendees even sported ANC logos on their apparel,” said Stanfley.

“It is, of course, nothing new for the ANC to hijack commemorative events in this manner. Former president Jacob Zuma did substantively the same during the national commemoration of Women’s Day in Kimberley last year.”

She elaborated on what she recalled of the 2017 commemoration.

“What was supposed to be a multi-party event celebrating the contribution of women to our democracy, quickly turned into a platform for internal party politics, as Zuma encouraged attendees to support a specific candidate in the ANC’s elective conference.

“Bathabile Dlamini also forgot that she was supposed to attend in her capacity as minister of social development and instead spoke as chairperson of the ANC Women’s League.”

These forums were established with the specific aim to not only grow respect between men and women, but to shape the boy of today into the responsible young man of tomorrow.
- Sylvia Lucas