Parties, unions speak out on Women’s Day

2011-08-09 13:00

Freedom from oppression is only a reality for the fortunate few women in South Africa, the DA said today.

“For the vast majority, challenges such as the scourge of sexual and family violence are their reality,” said spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko in a statement.

“Women still lack satisfactory access to jobs and economic opportunity that flow from having equal access to skills development and training; women remain more at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS than men, particularly as a consequence of being denied rights over their own bodies in a deeply patriarchal society.

“Those of us who form part of the fortunate few beneficiaries of the struggle for equal rights must remember today that freedom is indivisible, and women’s rights are human rights. Until all the women of this country are truly able to taste the fruits of freedom, the struggle must continue.”

Mazibuko paid tribute to the women who marched to the Union Buildings on August 9, 1956 – protesting against the apartheid government pass laws.

The National Union of Metalworkers’ of SA (Numsa) urged women to celebrate women’s day “in protest”.

“Our country is amongst the most and leading unequal country in the world which manifest itself in the form of high rate of mass unemployment, deepening income inequalities, rising cost of living, ravaged by scourge of HIV/AIDS diseases, high cost of healthcare, grinding poverty and high cost of transportation which are a burden to the working class and poor women,” said Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese in a statement.

He called on working class women to fight and defeat capitalism, which Numsa believed was the cause of the inequalities in South Africa.

“As long as capitalism still persists and is dominant in our country, the triple crisis of unemployment, inequalities and underdevelopment will remain intact and unchanged,” Ngobese said.

He also saluted the thousands of women who “continue to be the voice of conscience against corruption as promoted by the predatory elite”.

The IFP recognised that women needed opportunities to empower themselves economically. Its president, Mangosutho Buthelezi, said South Africa needed to “help our women to help themselves”.

“Skills training and greater access to financial assistance are but the beginning. Entrepreneurs often need expert guidance to navigate regulations, marketing principles and business sustainability,” he said.

The Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) applauded the work done by nurses in the country, made up mostly of women.

“Women are a blessing in the lives of those who are unable to take care of themselves; they are mothers, pillars of houses, backbones of nations.

“The struggle, however, continues for women to play an even more powerful role in decision-making,” said Denosa president Dorothy Matebeni.

DA Limpopo provincial leader Desiree van der Walt said women still made up 70% of those living below the poverty line.

“Our province, Limpopo, is mainly rural and women usually work in agriculture or other informal sectors and they collect food, water and fuel. Thus for us here in Limpopo, as is the case elsewhere, it is of utmost importance that our government fundamentally improves its approach to land reform.

“Not only must the government remove all the bureaucratic bottlenecks that hinder a successful land reform, it must make sure that the beneficiaries, especially women are fully capacitated to carry out sustainable and long term agricultural enterprises.”

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