Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, at the Women’s Day celebrations, Douglas Stadium 12 August 2018

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
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Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Ons is geseëndomvandag, op n heiligeSondagbymekaarte kan kom om Vrouedag te vier. Hierdie dag is spesiaal aan alle vroue opgedraen gee ookerkenning van nie net die waardevollerol wat vroue in die samelewingvertolk nie, maar dit is ook n dag wat ons as vroue en in ‘ngroot mate mans ook, aan vroue wat struikel onder swaaromstandighede te kan bemoedig.
Dames en here, die bemagteging van vroue in Suid Afrikagaan nie net om die onreg van die verlede te herstel nie, maar dit is grotendeelsook om vroue te bemagtig en ‘n platform te skep waar vroue hul regmatige plek in die samelewing kan inneem. Dit is ookom vroue die keuse en krag te gee om beheer van hul ewe lewens te neem. En die byeenkoms en soortgelykebyeenkomsteregoor die land beaam dat ons as vroue die reg het om nie net bloot te bestaan nie, maar dat ons die mag het om te besluit hoe ons die lewe gaan lei en hoe ons, individueel en tesame hierdie wonderlikeland van ons ‘n beter plek te maak vir almal.

Ladies and gentlemen, since the dawn of democracy and freedom in 1994, the Government of the Republic of South Africa has committed to a determined human rights framework. This is enshrined in the Constitution as the Bill of Rights. In that context, the Women’s Charter for Effective Equality, which was adopted in 1994 by the Women’s Coalition, and launched on National Women’s Day in August 1995, informed the basis for consideration in all political, legal and legislative strategies, as well as a source for the writing of the National Constitution. 

As Regering het ons hierdie Maanduitgesit om uitsluitlik vroue en hul stryd vir ‘n regverdige en vry Suid Afrika, waar ons almal, wit, swart en enigekleur, taal, kultuur en ongeag ons ekonomieseomstandighede, almal gelyk en vry  is. Ons dink veralterug aan die dag- 9 Augustus 1956 toe vroue opstaan en in eenasemverklaar het dat genoeg is genoeg. Ons gaan nie weer ons onderwerp aan die gemene en vernederendepaswette nie. Hierdie vroue het die fondasieversterkwaarop ons demokrasievandaggebou is.  

Ladies and gentlemen, this yearweare commemorating the 62nd Anniversary of the 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings, under the theme,“100 Years of Albertina Sisulu, Woman of Fortitude: Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”. This year’s commemoration takes on a special significance as it is the year of the “triple centenary”. South Africa celebrates the birth of struggle icon Mama Albertina Sisulu and Tata Nelson Mandela as well as the formation of the Bantu Women’s League. 

The Mama Sisulu’s centenary celebration will form the core thrust of Women’s Month as we pay tribute to her and the many women leaders of her generation. Mama Sisulu was one of the organisers of the anti-pass Women’s March in 1956 and played a key role in its planning.She epitomises the saying: “When you strike a woman, you strike a rock.” In the 80s she co-founded the United Democratic Front which joined the multitude of anti-apartheid groups under one umbrella. She was elected one of its co-presidents from her jail cell.

Dames en here, hierdie jaar- 2018- is ook die jaar wat ons die totstandkoming van die Bantu Vroue Liga wat in 1918 gestig is vier. Onder die bekwameleierskapvan Dr Charlotte Maxekehet hierdie organisasie- die Bantu Vroue Liga ‘n verbetestryd teen Apartheid en die paswettegestry. Dit is hier wat vroue bewys het dat deur saamtestaan en te mobiliseer kan die onmoontlikevermag word. Vandagbly hierdie kenmerk van waarde, want aan die voorfront van menigegemeenskapsbelange en sake staan vroue aan die voorpunt. 

Ons is almal vertroud met die geskiedenis toe 20 000 vroue saamspan en optrekna die Uniegeboue 1956 om te betoog teen die paswette. Tussen hierdie vroue was daar ook mans wat in eenheid met vroue gestaan het en daarom is dit belangrik dat ons- terwyl ons vroue regteeer en bevorder, ons nie die “boychild” in die proses verloor nie. Die manne wat daardie dag met die vroue opgestaan het en die vyand in die gesiggestaar het, het vroue as hul ewe kniegesien en respekteer.
Ons moetjuisdaarnastreef, om ons seuns wat die mans van die toekoms sal wees, van kleinsaf leer hoe om n vrou te respekteer en as sy gelyke te aanvaar. Nie syonderdaan of iemandverhewebohom nie, maar dat n meisie en vrou sy gelyke is. Ons het juis as ‘n Regering van die mense, ons mans forums in all distriktegestig.Hierdie forums is gestig met die spesifiekedoel om nie net wedersydse respek tussen mans en vrouens te kweek nie, maar ook om die seunvan vandag te vorm in die verantwoordelike jong man van more.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think you will agree with me, that the struggle of women today is different to the struggle of women in 1956. Unfortunately this year Women’s Month takes places against a backdrop of a spate of violence and abuse against women in our country. Despite an array of legislation enacted to protect women it has not translated into action on the ground. Government has called on all sectors of society to oppose any form of violence committed against women and children, and immediately report all cases to the police in order to bring perpetrators to justice.

As stated, this also led us to make our provincial “Call to Action” last year, which entails mobilizing society, especially men, in combating this scourge of abuse against women and children.

As we join to celebrate women’s month let us honour our women and children by acting together to prevent abuse and to ensure a safer society for our women and children. We can and must do more to prevent violence against women, support survivors of abuse and bring perpetrators to justice. We can no longer remain quiet when violence, injury and murder inflicted upon women and other vulnerable groups are at an alarming rate.

despite the gains made in South Africa over the past few years, women continue to face deep inequalities and oppression as well as enduring struggles against patriarchy.Together we must continue to act to ensure that women and men in our country can live as equal beneficiaries of development. It is only through the women’s full an equal participation in all areas of public and private life that we can achieve a sustainable, peaceful and just society as enshrined in our Constitution. 


Ladies and gentlemen,

Whilst there is reason to celebrate, it should be borne in mind that more can be done and more needs to be done in order to fully emancipate women. Women comprise the majority of the population and should become the primary beneficiaries of a growing and inclusive economy, whilst their human rights are fully protected by all spheres and societal institutions. 

The Northern Cape will therefore continue to place specific emphasis on the socio-economic empowerment of women. This will involve focussing on women’s education, health, access to land and social infrastructure. We wish to encourage women to actively participate in our economy and seize the opportunities that our new democracy offers. Our constant message is to encourage women to unleash the enormous potential within them and make full use of the opportunities to enter into the mainstream economy.

I encourage you to join us during this month as we join with civil society in not only celebrating the successes of women emancipation,but also to recommit ourselves to the promotion of gender equality as a means of combatting poverty and stimulating development. 

We should continue toseek inspiration and wisdom from women such as Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, Sophia Williams De Bruyn and many other brave heroines who spoke truth to power during that fateful day in 1956 when they marched to Pretoria to denounce the draconian laws of the apartheid regime.

Comrades and Friends, let us work together to ensure that gender equality, violence against women and children, HIV/AIDS, poverty  and the leadership role of women in democratic governance remain high-priority issues on the agendas of all spheres of government. I know we can work together and achieve justice for all women and create an equitable and gender-empowered world for the present and the future generations.

Ladies and gentlemen we must keep alight the flame of hope and progress that those revolutionary women have ignited. We are forever indebted to Mama AlbertinaSisulu and those 20 000 strong women who have fought and provided us with leadership towards equality. Let us declare in unison as they did, ‘You strike a woman, you strike a rock - Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo’.

I have seen for myself what women, often in the toughest circumstances, can achieve for their families and societies when they are given the opportunity. The strength, industry and wisdom of women remain humanity's greatest untapped resource. 

Twenty four years into democracy we can rightly state, that South Africa is indeed a much better place; however more still needs to be done. We must work smarter and faster to ensure that we drastically improve the lives of women especially marginalized and poor women who are in the majority.Government, for its part, will not rest until all women are afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts.Let us continue to remain partners in the long fight for the genuine liberation, empowerment and recognition of women as equal citizens and rights holders in our country. 

Malibongwe

 

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