Halala Makhosikazi halala!
Phanzi nge violence and poverty phanzi!
Forward with women empowerment forward!
Forward with gender equality, forward!
We are meeting here to commemorate, celebrate and pay tribute to the the stalwarts of 1913, led by Charlotte Mannya Maxeke and the 1956 heroine’s- led by Llian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Sophie De Bruyn, Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph, and many more in the fight for the total emancipation and empowerment of women. We are here to honour the giants who challenged the might of the repressive and brutal regime, unarmed and defenceless; their only weapon was their vision to see a truly non-racial, non-sexist, equal and democratic South Africa.
We are gathered to commemorate a centenary, 100 years of working together towards sustainable women empowerment and gender equality. As we stand here, we must make a solemn commitment never to betray the legacy and sacrifices made by this generation. They planted the seeds of a better life for all.
I welcome and salute the women of South who have attended this esteemed occasion. I also welcome leaders in the religious, cultural, public service, community, business sector. I also welcome lwaders of political parties who are also part of this important celebration.
In the past 100 years, a lot has been achieved to work towards the emancipation of South African Women of all races. Challenges and gaps still remain, but we believe, working together we can do more.
The Democratic non-racial, non-sexist South African Government adopted progressive laws and policies towards women empowerment and gender equality. We have a constitution which has affirmed citizens of this country, including women, children and people with disabilities by recognising and upholding their rights.
Our Constitution is the foundation upon which all initiatives for towards the total emancipation of women are grounded. A tool to a future “free from unfair discrimination, inequality, abuse and exploitation”, for women and their children. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) defines in detail the vision of a society that the country strives towards – the “creation of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.
The centenary also coincides with the centenary of the land act which deprived women of access to land . we are however pleased to note that in this year our government has undertaken to ensure that women will be prioritised to access land. As a Department, we are working with rural women and are giving support to many rural women’s cooperatives, in partnership with the DRDLR and our traditional leaders.
With regard to violence against women we remain confident that the strengthened and integrated approach coordinated by the National Council Against Gender Based Violence will go a long way to address the scourge.
The strengthening of law enforcement measures, particularly the re-establishment of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units within the SAPS will go a long way to in fighting this scourge. We also commend our courts for the life sentences that will serve as a deterrent to perpetrators of heinous crimes such as rapes of women children and people with disabilities including lesbian women. This shows that government is serious in dealing with this scourge.
We also commend the Minister of Justice for relaunching the Sexual Offences Courts which will help cut the backlogs of sexual offences cases. I am pleased to also announce that the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill is under consideration. We believe that the Bill will go a long way towards enforcing programmes aimed at empowering women in South Africa.
South Africa and the African continent, has a reason to be proud. As we are celebrating Dr Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma thefirst woman chair of the AU Commission, today we are also congradulating former Deputy President Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,as newly appointed Executive Director of United Nations Women and UN Under Secretary and Ms Geraldine Fraser- Moleketi’s as the Special Envoy at the African Development Bank, in Tunisia.
Congratulations to all of you we say MALIBONGWE IGAMA LAMAKHOSIKAZI. We call on all of you, become the change want by protecting our women, children and people with disabilities.
Working together, we can succeed to ensure that the agenda to empower women is sustained.