2018-06-29 06:01

DEAR reader,

Welcome once again to our weekly update column. We have come once more to Youth Month — June 16 the day that we all stand up to honour the spirit of young martyrs who laid down their lives so that the youth may be free today. Government is certainly aware of the challenges that youth faces, i.e. unemployment, HIV/AIDS, youth involved in crime, poverty, and, while these challenges might be different from those experienced by the youth of 1976, today’s youth is still expected to offer their hands in volunteering to rebuild their communities.

Matatiele hosts Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP)

My focus, this week, will be on the much needed economy boost for our town for hosting Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians from the June 18 to June 20, 2018 at the Maluti Civic Centre. The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians is an organisation established by the Constitution of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association - Africa region and it was founded in 1989.

The Eastern Cape Sub-National Branch of the Commonwealth organised a well-attended dialogue to implement resolutions of the CWP conference, that took place in New York, where, among others, a resolution was taken that the CWP branches must hold workshops and conferences in rural areas to raise awareness of women on their rights in order to uplift them and highlight the opportunities that are available to them. In responding to the said resolution, the CWP branch of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature resolved to host a two-day dialogue session in Alfred Nzo District in 2018. More objectives of the CWP dialogue are to expand accountability by the leadership across the spectrum on women representation, to mobilise active participation of women in government programmes and to critically interrogate involvement of women in Africa agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development.

Participants included members of parliament and national ministers; MPLs from the national parliament and other legislatures, councillors from municipalities in Alfred Nzo District, civic society organisations; academic institutions; women delegates form our respective wards, business fraternity, student organisations, traditional leaders; government institutions, and Africa diaspora.

Women have raised a number of challenges they face on their daily lives and women and children abuse and unemployment were issues raised during the high level panel discussion engagement that presented on how gender based violence is affecting communities and the opportunities for women at community level and an overview of government programmes to address gender inequality.

In the build up to the dialogue, political principals, accompanied by government officials, handed over a house and groceries and provided social work services to a 72- year-old woman — Mrs Moleko in ward 6. Mrs Moleko looks after five grandchildren, two of whom are living with disabilities and are only surviving thanks to social grants. The first day of this three-day programme was concluded by a massive services on wheels programme in two areas, Maluti and Ha-Nchodu village, where communities were able to access government services without having to travel to town. Departments such as Home Affairs, Social Development, Sassa, Health, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Human Settlements and SAPS formed part of the initiative to bring government services closer to the people.

We are happy, as the local municipality, to have been given the opportunity to host an event of this calibre, as it had economic spin-offs for our local accommodation establishments, filling stations and catering services companies, to mention but a few. The event also honoured the 100 year celebration of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu and we remembered one of our own — the late Mama Maggie Resha — who sacrificed her time and contributed to the liberation of our country.

“We are a Destination of Choice and Excellence.”


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