Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, has called on women to speak out against violence.
The Minister said this at a time when there is an increase in reports of women falling victim to horrific acts of abuse and murder at the hands of their intimate partners.
“Fellow South Africans, one of the challenges to fighting the scourge of violence continues to be silence from victims, perpetrators, their families and communities.
“I encourage all women to stand up and speak up against violence,” she said. Dlamini was speaking during her department’s Budget Vote in parliament on Thursday.
She applauded the media for their increasing efforts in publicising and exposing cases of gender-based violence.
“The media, like other sectors of society such as schools and religious institutions, has a key role to play in ending patriarchy.
“Our government and the judiciary have taken great strides in addressing challenges faced by women living in rural areas,” the Minister said.
She said, however, that despite this, rural areas remain the persistent sites of underdevelopment, poverty, precarious land tenure systems, and patriarchal power relations linked to customary law and traditions.
“For women living in rural areas in South Africa and in many developing countries, access to land and secure land tenure remain a source of security against poverty.
“We therefore applaud the September 2017 decision of the Pretoria High Court to protect the land rights of Mantshabelle Mary Rahube, a sixty-eight-year-old woman who was facing eviction by a male relative from the family home in which she has lived for more than 37 years.
“We support Mary Rahube who is today taking her matter to the Constitutional Court,” the Minister said.
Championing women’s empowerment
Dlamini said that being located in the Presidency gives the department a unique opportunity to champion government-wide delivery of women’s empowerment and gender equality.
She said that last year, the department committed to develop a framework for the provision of free sanitary products to indigent girls and women.
“We are pleased to inform this august house that we have finalised the Sanitary Dignity Framework and we will pilot this flagship programme in three provinces, namely Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
“The pilot phase will target girls attending quintiles 1-3 schools,” she said.
Dlamini said through this flagship programme, government wants to restore the dignity of girls from poor households by ensuring that nothing hinders their journey to success, especially not their monthly menstruation.
“We intend to use Government’s investment in the sanitary dignity programme to stimulate local economic development by empowering women to play a key role in the entire value chain process.
“We want women not just to be recipients of sanitary dignity pads, but to be the manufacturers and distributors.
“This is part of our contribution to the radical socioeconomic transformation and employment creation,” she said.
Department to advocate for gender budgeting
The Minister added that the department would continue to push for government departments across all spheres of government to prioritise gender mainstreaming in their budgets.
“To this end, we will continue our advocacy work with the National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure that every government department and every state entity mainstreams gender within their planning, monitoring and budgeting systems.
“The aim is to ensure that government budget allocations at all spheres contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment,” she said.