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Gender-Based Violence takes centre stage at the SALGA National Women’s Commission




Posted: 28 November

SALGA held its National Women’s Commission Lekgotla on 28-29 November at the Southern Sun OR Tambo Hotel in Kempton Park, Gauteng as part of its efforts to grow South Africa together for Women’s Emancipation in Local Government.

The two-day Lekgotla was aimed at exploring ways of working together to strengthen women empowerment and gender mainstreaming. It seeks to identify synergies, areas of collaboration and building partnerships. The Lekgotla is also held to discuss ways of working together to address Gender-Based Violence thus share best practices and approaches to integrate gender equality.

Setting the tone of the SALGA Women’s Commission (SWC) President Thembi Nkadimeng enlightened the gathering as “an occasion of taking stock and reflection of where we come from and what still needs to be done, to call for change as well as to celebrate the acts of courage and determination by women as we continue with the fight for gender equality in local government.”

There are significant improvements as the government has created an enabling environment for gender equality, this is evident through establishments such as the Commission for Gender Equality and the Department of Women.

However, many systemic challenges remain, which now require a rethink of our policies, legislation and approaches. Several key issues still affect the female gender. For instance, women to date still encounter domestic violence, unequal pay, sexual harassment in their work stations, parenting issues, schooling for girls, and sanitary towels among other issues.

Addressing the strength South African women possess, Nkadimeng reminded delegates of the 09 August 1956 Women’s March stating that “women in our country have always been at the forefront of the pursuit of equal rights during the liberation struggle.” She further encouraged the Lekgotla to be all-rounders as mayors, speakers and Councillors.

“We need to take the SALGA Women’s Commission outside just us being Councillors and have a voice outside local government as women part of communities,” said President Nkadimeng.

This year marks 21 years since South Africa launched its first 16 Days of Activism Campaign in 1998. The theme: “Enough is Enough – 365 days to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide” speaks to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Emergency Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which focuses on:

  • Prevention of violence,
  • Strengthening the justice system,
  • Enhancing legal and regulatory reforms,
  • Supporting survivors of violence and
  • Empowering women economically.

Acting SALGA Women’s Commission Chairperson Cllr Lindelwa Ntlonze raised some pertinent questions for the delegates; “amid Gender-Based Violence as women leadership, what are we doing? Are we just marching and going to courts? What Conversations are we holding in our councils?” 

The proceeding will in the next day’s strengthen the gender movement from local to national and the international level; increase partnerships and collaboration in promoting gender equality, women's empowerment and gender mainstreaming; thus build linkages and networking opportunities.

A key outcome of the two-day SALGA Women’s Commission Lekgotla will be the election of the new National Chairperson who will serve the commission for the next two years while steering the path institutionalising advocacy processes through the voice of women in local government.

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