Leader of Government Business and MEC for EDTEA, Ms. Nomsa Dube-Ncube;
Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Honourable Nontembeko Boyce;
Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Chiliza;
Apostle C Nyandeni;
The Director-General of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr N Mkhize;
Distinguished Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Good morning to you all and those following us online across our province.
We meet today to launch a month which is dedicated to honouring the dignity of the women of South Africa.
Our launch of Women’s Month coincides with the 58th anniversary of the Pan-African Women’s Organisation (PAWO). As you would know, PAWO is an agency of the African Union Commission which is dedicated to gender equality and the economic emancipations of women.
Today we a reminded that the women of our continent are the backbone of African economies and pillars of community life.
Today we honour all our heroines from Cape to Cairo, from Morocco to Madagascar, for their contribution in the liberation of Africa from the yoke of colonialism and slavery.
In our own country, we are reminded of us stalwarts like Charlotte Maxeke, Lilian Ngoyi, Dorothy Nyembe, Winnie Mandela, Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph, Ruth First and many more who were in the forefront of the struggle for freedom and democracy.
We remember all the mighty and resilient women of our continent as we are faced with the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought much havoc, disruption, destruction, and death.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the many who have lost their lives and those fighting to recover.
This pandemic has also compounded another pandemic which was there already before our province reported the first case of the coronavirus on the 5th of March 2020. The other pandemic has been with us for a while, and if we do not act collectively now, it will still be with us long after we have overcome covid-19.
This other pandemic is the violence perpetrated against women by men in our country – and we commonly refer to it as gender-based violence (GBV).
GBV is an indictment on our society and a shame on the men of our land. It is an affront on our humanity and a disgrace on the struggle for liberation which was fought by generations of brave women.
At the dawn of democracy, our leaders correctly decided to commemorate the historic March on the 9th of August by thousands of women protesting against the hated passes. And our leaders correctly chose August as a month of reflection and action towards the complete emancipation of women.
In the month of August we are reminded of the triple oppression that black women faced in our recent divided past. We remember that they were oppressed on the basis of race, class, and gender. Today, the South African women face the added threat and experience of being abused and murdered by men, and often, men that they know or are their intimate partners. And sadly, Covid-19 has only compounded the problems faced by women as research indicates a rise in domestic violence, sexual abuse, and depression among women.
The problem belongs to us men. It is us men who abuse and violate women, and so we hold the key to ending this national disgrace. It is us men who are benefiting from a deeply embedded patriarchal culture that privileges men at the expense of women. It is us men who need to support a new ethos and culture based on equality between men and women.
Inequality and economic marginalisation of women fuels the oppression of women. Women who live in impoverished backgrounds are more vulnerable to abuse as they are often forced to live with and depend on abusive men.
It is for this reason that this year we commemorate Women’s Month under the theme of “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”. The theme of Generation Equality is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which call for collective action across the globe to achieve gender equality by 2030.
On behalf of the provincial government, we call upon all the people of KwaZulu-Natal to rise and act now to create a new society based on mutual respect and equality between men and women, between boys and girls, between straight people and those with a different sexual orientation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to highlight some of our planned activities in the province for the month of August. This is a province-wide programme led by various departments and we will remind the public on these activities as we get closer to them.
On the 3rd of August 2020, we will reflect on Women Empowerment initiatives in the Office of the Premier and our achievements in this regard.
Between the 6th and the 8th of August 2020, we will hold the Provincial Women’s Parliament. The event will bring together all the inputs made on the policy and programming priorities for the period 2020-2025 and to 2030.
On the 9th of August is South Africa’s Women’s Day. The focus will be on South Africa’s gender policy priorities and proposed interventions for 2020-2025 and to 2030.
On the same day, the Department of Arts and Culture will be holding a Women’s Day Virtual Concert to recognise and honour women for their contribution in the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
Also, on the 9th of August 2020, DSD will share information on business ideas and opportunities, provide information on Covid-19 regulations, and share information on the use of ICTs in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. This will be done in partnership with 25 Women DSD Service Office in partnership with NPOs supported by the Department.
On the 10th of August 2020, the Department of Social Development (DSD) will hold an Older Women’s Dialogue in Cator Manor to discuss the impact of Covid-19 in their lives and how to mitigate it.
On the 12th of August 2020, we will be in the uThukela District to support and monitor a women’s led cooperative involved in protective masks.
Also, on the 12th of August 2020, we will host a virtual Provincial Women’s Conference targeting women in the workplace and how they are embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution. The KZN Department of Health is the lead Department.
On the 14 August 2020, there will be discussions on GBV and strategies to curb it. The event is billed as a “woman to woman” engagement.
Also, on the 14th of August 2020, DSD will engage 20 young women between ages of 18-35 on the impact of Covid-19 in their lives and discuss the support they need. The event will take place at the DSD Isematholeni Youth Club.
On the 15th of August 2020, there will be a Virtual Women’s Dialogue led by the Department of Community Safety & Liaison. The focus is on women’s safety and how it can be enhanced. On the same day, there will also be a launch of the community safety structure for women which seeks to empower women on how they can take responsibility for their safety
Similar awareness and capacity building events are planned for Inanda on the 19th of August and for Marianhill on the 20th of August 2020, and Umbumbulu-Ziphatheleni Community on the 21st of August 2020. On the 24th of August, Community Safety & Liaison will hold a Women’s Dialogue in Westville - women will empower each other educate on GBV and solicit ideas on how it can be prevented.
On the 18th of August 2020, the Department of Transport will engage widows in the taxi and bus sector. This is part of the Department’s capacity programme for widows in the taxi industry.
On the 20th of August in KwaMaphumulo central ward 08, there will be a Women’s Dialogue focusing on women’s socio- economic empowerment during Covid-19, share Covid-19 experiences, and engage on GBV and Femicide.
On the 28th of August, there will be a Maskandi Master Class in partnership with Siyathuthuka Radio Station. The aim is to encourage more women to participate in this musical art form.
Throughout the month, there will be key messages focusing on Sexual and Reproductive Health during COVID-19 and beyond.
We will be creating awareness of COVID-19 and public health containment strategies on key sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including (1) gender attitudes, beliefs and practices including gender-based violence; (2) access to HIV testing, prevention (i.e., PrEP, condoms, and antiretroviral therapy), and treatment services; and (3) access to effective contraception and prevention of unintended pregnancy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our provincial government views the issue of gender equality in a serious matter. We are implementing economic policies that deliberately seek to bring women into the mainstream of the economy to help achieve gender parity.
We have targeted 30% set asides for women, youth and SMME. Our own PGDP targets government’s local procurement spend is 35%youth; 30% women; 5% people with disabilities, and 60% allocated to Africans.
We have also said that by 2024, 50 % of government spend will be on entrepreneurship for women-owned and led business.
As we close Men’s Month and start Women’s Month, allow me to close with Nelson Mandela’s word’s where he said, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom”.
I invite the people of KwaZulu-Natal to be the champions of gender equality. This is our generational call.
May your greatness shine through and blossom.
And Let Us Grow KwaZulu-Natal Together.
I thank you!