Press Release by the organisations listed below
Women’s organizations were dismayed to learn this week about the planned “National Consultative Meeting” on the proposed Gender Equality Bill called by the Department for Women, Children People with Disabilities (DWCPwD). This NCM is scheduled to take place on 14th April 2011 in Pretoria; however, very few civil society organizations are even aware of the initiative and the department is making no resources available to support the participation of organizations in the consultation. The Department is effectively saying: if you make your way to Pretoria, great, if not, there is nothing we can do about it.
This is completely unacceptable, especially in the light of recent media reports about the huge expense incurred in sending a delegation of 49 government officials, including eight ministers and deputy ministers (at a cost of R81,104 per business class flight) to New York for two-weeks. The delegation is reported to have not attended most of the sessions of the United Nations Gender Summit where they were supposed to represent us.
Not only are we nowhere near reaching gender equality, many of the gains we made for women in our initial democracy seem to be on the reverse with devastating consequences, especially for poor women. South Africa is not only the most unequal society in economic income terms, but also one of the most violent societies for a woman to live in.
We further note with concern that there is a recent trend for the Ministry of Police to exclude gender-based violence in its annual crime statistics release. It is unacceptable that while violence against women in South Africa is getting worse, it is falling off government’s agenda as a national crisis facing society.
The undersigned organizations call on:
- Public Prosecutor Madonsela to investigate the allegations about the wasteful expenditure made in respect of the trip the UN Gender Summit.
- President Zuma to illustrate to women voters that the ruling party is serious about gender equality by intervening to ensure that an adequate budget is allocated to the National Consultative Meeting to ensure a meaningful national consultation on this crucial Bill. If adequate resources are not availed, then the meeting cannot be called a national consultation and should be reconstituted as a meeting of government officials.
- The Minister of DWCPwD to postpone the meeting, send invitations to a broad spectrum of relevant civil society organisations, and lobby the Office of the President for the necessary resources to enable the participation of civil society in the consultation.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Fatima Shabodien Women on Farms Project 072 795 5857
LIST OF SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS
- 1. Rape Crisis Trust, Cape Town
- 2. FAMSA CAPE TOWN
- 3. ENGENDER
- 4. ACTION ON ELDER ABUSE
- 5. Sustainability Institute
- 6. Rural Education, Awareness and Community Health (REACH)
- 7. Triangle Project
- 8. SWEAT
- 9. Women’s Legal Centre
- 10. Southern African Media and Gender Institute (SAMGI)
- 11. Community Law Centre, UWC
- 12. Western Cape Network on Violence against Women
- 13. Tswaranang Legal Advocacy Centre
- 14. Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre
Lesley Ann Foster