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NEWS

FOCUS ON EMPOWERING WOMEN

Khethukuthula Xulu | 10 August 2023


KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube says she is living proof that gender equality is possible.


The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Nomusa Dube-Ncube told the women of the province that they were not second-class citizens and that she was living proof that gender equality is possible.


Dube-Ncube was speaking at the KZN Women’s Day celebrations held in her home town at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu, Durban, on Wednesday.


"I greet you proudly, standing on the broad shoulders of the more than 20 000 strong and feisty women who, in 1956, rewrote the history of South Africa by marching to the Union Buildings to demand an end to the abominable and racist pass laws. They were led by women of valour and substance, among them, Sophie de Bruyn, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa, who forced the then prime minister JG Strydom to flee."


“By doing so, these women inspired the famous saying: ‘You touch a woman, you touch a rock, you will die. Wathint’abafazi wathint’imbokodo uzokufa, finish’.”


She said the resilience and fortitude demonstrated by these women reassured women that their role in society, in places of worship, in the judiciary, in government, could no longer be reduced to statistics and “politically correct gimmicks”.


She said it must be understood that women make meaningful contributions to the economy of the country, in communities and in their families.


“Women are not second-class citizens”, she said.


Dube-Ncube reported that, in line with this year’s theme of economic empowerment, all provincial government departments set aside budgets for women’s programmes from April 2022 to March 2023.


“The total budget spent on women programmes is R812 364 017,50, which attributes to 39% of the overall budget allocated to provincial Government departments. The Department of Transport and the Department of Human Settlements are commended for spending 52% of their overall budget on the Women Empowerment Programme,” she said.


She said the Office of the Premier, as the transversal co-ordinating department, synchronises women programmes that cut across the provincial government, has led several women empowerment programmes, such as women in informal business who are often invited to exhibit their work in government-led programmes.


“From the R10 million sponsorship towards the gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) response programme, half-a-million rand has been donated to open door centres for provision of economic empowerment skills development programmes for victims of GBVF. Skills development programmes range from sewing, beadwork, (women) woodwork and plumbing,” said the premier.


The mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Mxolisi Kaunda, said the city continued to strive for the full participation of women in the mainstream economy, particularly in the productive sectors of the economy. In this regard, he said the city was implementing a wide range of empowerment programmes to ensure that women play a meaningful role in the economy.


“Since 2006, the municipality has been implementing a women empowerment programme where we invest approximately R2 million annually to support women to participate in male-dominated economic sectors.


"Currently, the city has a database with over 200 women that benefit from initiatives of the municipality. Recently, two women, who are our top crafters, exhibited their products at the premier Décor, Design and Lifestyle Exhibition in Cape Town and they are now supplying established furniture retailers such as @home and Coricraft."


The Inkatha Freedom Party Women’s Brigade (IFPWB) in KZN said Women’s Day was a crucial day to observe, as women in KZN were still victims of social ills such as femicide, abuse and discrimination.


Speaking at the sidelines of the Women’s Day event, IFPWB provincial chairperson Ntombifuthi Gumede said women needed outlets and gatherings of this magnitude to gather and discuss ways to break free from the bondages of society.


“Today [Wednesday] is the day we forget about political affiliation and stand together for the struggles of women as a whole. It is also up to us to see that whatever resolutions are taken today are not only beneficial to women from one political party, but for all,” she said.

She added that women needed to be empowered to be self-reliant and independent, “so that in times of abuse they will be empowered to leave without the fear that they will go hungry or[their] children will suffer”.


The Democratic Alliances Women’s Network (Dawn) KZN chairperson, Remona McKenzie said there was a lot that still needed to be done in empowering women, especially in fields of agriculture.


"We have put together an executive group that involves Social Development and Community Safety to ensure that we have all the required assistance in pushing for the safety of women in our province."


The Women’s Day event was also attended by Zulu maidens, the youth and the elderly alike.


‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.



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