On 15 October, 250 rural women and activists marched to Parliament as part of the activities held worldwide for the International Day for Rural Women.
The march, organized by the Rural Assembly for Women, was part of a 3-day gathering that focused on issues relating to food sovereignty, access to land for rural women and agrarian reform.
As part of the assembly, a food security indaba was held where farmers, farmworkers and agricultural specialists shared insights on harvesting methods, biogas and alternative technologies for eco-friendly farming.
Several other organizations participated in the assembly, including chapter 9 institutions like the South African Human Rights Commission and the Commission for Gender Equality.
In the memorandum handed to parliament, the assembly also demanded that the contentious Traditional Courts Bill be scrapped. According to the protestors, if passed, this bill will undermine the rights of rural women, as traditional tenets do not permit women to represent themselves in traditional courts. On Tuesday, Parliament announced that the bill would be sent back to provincial legislatures for further comment and consultations.
Samantha Jones-Phillipson, Deputy Director at the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs, accepted the memorandum on behalf of the Minister, Gugile Nkwinti.