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Posted: 31 August 2020

The Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Parks Tau and the President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Councillor Thembi Nkadimeng co-hosted a virtual dialogue with 'Women in Local Government' as part of women's month commemorations. The theme for this global platform of deliberations was: 'Leading in the face of COVID-19 and Gender Based Violence'.

This important dialogue was convened on 29 August 2020, primarily targeted to serve as a common platform of convergence for women leaders in local government to share best practices and case studies in respect of their role amid the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Local government constitutes a logical point of implementation as a sphere closest to the people.

Granted, significant strides have been made towards the empowerment of women, particularly in positions of leadership both in parliamentand and local government. However, our journey towards gender parity is still far from ideal, for instance in South Africa we currently have an accumulative 33% of women Mayors. "As we prepare for local government elections next year our deliberate and conscious focus should be progressively targeted at 50/50 representation. In our course for GenerationEquality we should remain vigilant against potential attritions owing to factors such as digitization or automation in the advent of 4IR", said Deputy Minister Tau.

Women are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and perennial socioeconomic challenges, which compels us to contrive sufficient mechanisms to affirm the rights of women in respect of universal access to education, reproductive health, basic services, by employing gender responsive policies and programmes especially gender responsive budgeting. As a people and as men particularly we have a collective responsibility to champion women emancipation through our activism to unleash the economic potential of women which directly translates into unleashing the economic potential of society, holistically.

Councillor Thembi Nkadimeng said, "in our pursuit for GenerationEquality we need to reflect on the role of women as catalysts towards pervasive community empowerment. We should create enabling workplace environments that protects and advances the socioeconomic standing of women in society". The power relation between men and women should be of symbiotic nature that seeks to level the playing field. Women should actively participate in all government and community initiatives to ensure the incorporation of gender perspectives aimed at mainstreaming gender parity and the promotion of women inclusion.

Multiple speakers made enriching presentation on the basis of their area of expertise, and this ranged from managing accountability in local government, in the wake of allegations of malfeasance linked to the abuse of emergence procurement provision for Personal Pŕotective Equipment (PPE), in the fight against COVID-19. There is a need to strengthen accountability and consequence management in order to advance women empowerment and protect the the interests of marginalised women whom are predominantly from rural areas. True accountability is epitomised by a leadership that is sensitive to the plight of poor women whose interests are paramount.

Patriarchal norms of society which unfairly position boys as grown jewels of their families perpetuates gender inequality. The deficit in accountability can also be attributed to poor leadership which somewhat engenders the patterns of inequality. We need to strive for accountability and ethical leadership at alllevelsof government and society, whilst guarding against moral decay and promoting a culture of leadership that is beyond reproach.

Multinational agencies have formulated guidelines which can be a blueprint for gender equality. Some of the barriers to GerationEquality are social norms and stereotyping , which negate the fact that if women are empowered the whole society is transformed. We have witnessed how technology has become a necessity as oppose to a priviledge as an intricate enabler for our efforts to fight COVID-19 and GBV. Deliberate actions such as those of the Amathole municipality, to implement preferential procurement in favour of women signify a roadmap that we need to replicate as we embed a culture of gender equality. Additionally, we should adopt campaigns similar to the - 'He for She' Programmes in our journey towards GenerationEquality.

For any enquiries, kindly contact:
Ms Melody Manthata on: 066 2888 516/

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and South African Local Government Association (SALGA)


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