Speech by Pamela Tshwete on the International Women\'s Day Debate: "Relationship with Parlaiment on Gender Manistreaming"

8 March 2007

Madam Speaker, Honorable Members of parliament and Honoured Guests, Fellow South Africans…

Somlomo xa sithi ngalo nyaka ka 2007 sivuyisana nomhla wesibozo ka March singu Mzantsi Africa. Naxa sisithi uMzantsi Africa uyabalwa nawo kumazwe athe anyusa izinga lomama kuRhulumente wabo. Sithi Huntsu!

Xa ndikungqina ukuba uMzantsi Afrika uwalu ngiselele amakhosikazi naku mgaqo siseko wawo ngokuthi icandelo esithi yi Commission on Gender Equality- C.G.E.

The C.G.E. is one of our constitutional Institutions that were established under Chapter Nine of the Constitution to maintain and promote Democracy through Gender Equality. One of the most important tasks of our Democratic Government was to repeal old laws and policies that discriminated against women. These laws and policies give women rights that they were previously denied of.

In South Africa more than half the population is female, only approximately one third of our representatives are women. We are still undergoing a process of Gender Transformation within our country and globally. Women are still under represented in other spheres of government, especially in significant positions of power. It is the duty of the Parliament, Government and Civil Service, to acknowledge the role of women and ensure that their voices are heard in Democratic South Africa.

The commission on gender equality\'s mandate among others is to monitor and evaluate policies and practices of state organs, state agencies, public bodies and the private sector in order to promote gender equality and the right of women.

Paramount, Madame Chair, is that CGE not just designs a legislated society which equally balances the needs of both women and men of a democratic South Africa. And in analyzing the priorities set by government do impact positively on gender issues as it has done in the partnership with the Office of Status of Women.

CGE has a much broader task to practically encourage both men and women to speak out and demand a stop to the violence they experience daily. While much is said about the impracticality of the CGE, despite the considerable progress it has made regarding the legal status of women, and above-mentioned successes, indeed South African women do not enjoy equal rights in practice.

The "alpha male mindset" is still dominant in cultural diverse South Africans. Which is further handicapped by other societal animals such as race, class disability, religion, geographic location and cowboys do not cry myth, this is what further complicates the transition of Gender Equality.

Our practical participation should be;

  • To encourage the CGE on their mandate and deepen the "how to" discussions on gender issues, through studies and asserted research. So that we find a stop to these depraved brutal killings of women folk and the hideous attacks on girl and boy children.
  • Members of Parliament can be utilized as a link between the CGE and the Constituencies, where the MP\'s both the National Assembly and the NCOP can be empowered in areas of Gender Equality so they can take the influence down to their constituencies. For instance to participate on implementing legislative measures that keep out of our beloved country the damaging exposure of media materials that stimulate inappropriate sexual awareness.
  • We have to deepen our participation and invite the CGE to encourage a survivor friendly environment in law facilities, in communities and in the family. So when sexual violated survivors are interviewed and not interrogated.
  • We as the ANC welcomes the idea that the CGE can be invited to workshop our Committees so they may encourage awareness in decreasing the "silent father syndrome" and that both parents be active participants in child rearing.

Since 1994 we have been honoured with a Constitution that respects and promotes for a non sexist environment, for democracy and equality. The battle of addressing Gender Imbalances became manageable through the role played by our Chapter Nine Institutions. Kula maqhawe sithi nagamso!

"As South Africans we can never say we have achieved democracy as it is not enough without the equal equality for both men and women".

Gubani owayesazi ngo nyaka ka 1956 xa oomama baphuma uphulo beyokukhalaza kabuhlungu phambi ko Strydom kwi Union Building bekhalazela amalungelo abo, ukuba namhlanje bakube bexhamla iziqhamo zenkululeko ku Mzantsi Afrika omtsha.

Ndivalelisa ngelithi… inkululeko asikazukuyingcamlisisa singeka wakhululi ncam amakhosikazi kwi ngcindezelo abazibonakuzo.

"freedom can never be achieved fully unless women have been emancipated from all forms of gender oppression"