KZN’s women coucillors share advice

2011-10-14 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL women councillors were yesterday advised to hold regular report-back meetings with their constituencies to avoid the kind of service delivery protests that are overwhelming many municipalities across the country.

The advice was presented to the women councillors at a gathering at Sibaya Conference Centre near Durban hosted by the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube.

Dube had invited the women and mayors from municipalities across the province to help them “reorganise themselves as a united front that will work hand in glove with their male counterparts in a bid to rid our municipalities of corruption and thieving and make them more effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of our people”.

The leader of the National Freedom Party, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, a former Zululand District mayor who was a councillor for more than 14 years, told the gathering about her experience as woman mayor in a male-dominated environment. She said communities are forced to engage in service delivery protests because they are not regularly informed about the work and challenges that councillors face.

“Most of the tragic issues that affect communities —like crime, poverty, unemployment and HIV and Aids — affect mostly women, so women concillors must be seen to be changing the lives of their people. We have to stand up and work tirelessly to achieve what we want to achieve for our people. Let’s put our political differences aside and work together to benefit our communities.

“Always inform your people about the work you have done in order to avoid service delivery protests as they emanate from lack of knowledge on the part of our communities,” Magwaza-Msibi said.

She advised councillors to respect traditional leaders, but also to stand their ground when being undermined by municipal officials who do not want to take orders from them because they are women.

She said women councillors must be able to balance their positions in the public arena with their responsibilities to their families as mothers and wives.

Appeal Court Judge Leona Theron told of the challenges she faced when she became a judge at the age of 32 when the conditions in the courts favoured male judges.


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