South Africa: Premier Sihle Zikalala - Women's Day Commemoration

press release

Address by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Hon Sihle Zikalala during the commemoration of Women's Day

Programme Director and MEC for DSD, Mrs N Khoza;

Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Ms N Boyce;

Leader of Government Business and MEC for EDTEA, Ms N. Dube-Ncube;

Members of the Executive Council;

Deputy Chair of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi PT Zulu;

The Director-General of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr N. Mkhize;

Our Special Guests and Panellists: Dr N Ngema, Mrs. Z Hlatshwayo, Ms. P Mgobhozi;

The people of KwaZulu-Natal who are following this virtual gathering:

We are inspired by Lilian Ngoyi and her generation

Good afternoon!

Allow me, on behalf of the Provincial Government, to convey our gratitude to our earlier speakers for the input that they have shared with us today. Having listened to you, we can confirm without any shadow of doubt that the future is female and safe in the hands of imbokodo.


We stand on the shoulders of giants in the long struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal, and prosperous society. Today, the 9th of August 2020, we remember the 20 000 brave South African women who marched to the Pretoria regime and dared JG Strydom to extend the badge of slavery, the dompass, on the black women of South Africa.

Today we stand tall and with pride when we remember the outstanding organiser and leader of the biggest march in South Africa, Lilian Masediba Ngoyi, the President of the ANC Women's League, and first woman to sit in the ANC National Executive Committee. She was appropriately called, "the mother of black resistance"; and it was her that a young Winnie Mandela - the mother of our nation - idolised. Both Winnie Mandela and Lilian Ngoyi had taken the baton in the long freedom struggle relay from Charlotte Maxeke whom Dr AB Xuma called, "mother of black freedom in South Africa." Women's Day reminds us that this sacred liberation baton has been handed to us to hand over safely to future generations.

Today we remember the many other women of maNgoyi's generation who confronted the racist regime and said, "wathinta abafazi, wathinta imbokodo, uzakufa! That is, "now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock, you will perish". Among these brave hearts were: Dora Tamana, Florence Matomela, Frances Baard, Cissy Gool, Josie Palmer, Annie Silinga, Maggie Resha, Amina Cachalia, Helen Joseph, Sophie Williams-De Bruin and many more.

These were "amadelakufa", those brave stalwarts who were ready to go to prison or face torture, death, and banishment for the cause of freedom. They became known as "ukhuvethe lwamakhosikazi" or the "defiant women."

And we recall MaNgoyi who quipped that: "Men are born into the system, and it is as if it has been a life tradition that they carry passes. We as women have seen the treatment our men have - when they leave home in the morning you are not sure they will come back. We are taking it very seriously. If the husband is to be arrested and the mother, what about the child?"

It was these heroic women who through the banner of the multiracial Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) coined memorable and revolutionary slogans like: "Passes mean Broken Homes", "Passes Mean Destitute Children," and "Away with Bantu Education!"

It was the charismatic, articulate, and fearless Lilian Ngoyi who said, "My womb is shaken when they speak of Bantu Education"

In the book "Tomorrow's Sun", Helen Joseph recalled this day in 1956 when she wrote: "As we stepped on that rostrum again and faced them, our hands empty now, those thousands of women rose spontaneously to their feet, lifting their hands in the Congress salute ... Thirty minutes, and still the arms were raised. Lilian began to sing."

Yes, for thirty minutes, 20 000 South African women observed South Africa's longest and loudest silence in defiance of the extension of the dompass to black women.

The Drum Magazine wrote at the time that: "Cuts and granite are required to lead and inspire the thousands of women who are everywhere resisting... the heat and pressure of the times have provided a Lilian Ngoyi to perform that function."

Isithwalandwe Sophie Williams- De Bruin who was about 18 years old recalls the day: "I felt a lump in my throat when I looked at this large army of women: dignified women, courageous women. I felt so humbled to be part of such bravery."

Despite her ban of nearly two decades, MaNgoyi remained optimistic about the future of our country. Before her death in 1980, she had said: "If I die, I'll die a happy person because I have already seen the rays of our new South Africa rising."

This sense of optimism was also expressed by her friend and activist-in-arms, Helen Joseph, who after witnessing racial integration in wards at Groote Schuur Hospital said, "I don't doubt for a moment that the revolution will result in a non-racial society."

Both Helen Joseph and MaNgoyi were key architects of the Freedom Charter and they are buried next to one another at Avalon cemetery as if to remind us even in death of the importance, not just of racial equality, but of gender equality which they fought for side by side.

Realising gender equality through economic empowerment in Kwazulu-Natal

Ladies and Gentlemen, Women's Month 2020 is a heightened period to galvanise society to collectively respond to gender inequality.

This year we commemorate Women's Day in our province under the theme of "Generation Equality: Realizing Women's Rights for an Equal Society Now!"

This is a simple, but crucial call to recognise that women's rights are human rights; and that until we honour and respect the dignity of women, we cannot claim to be free and equal.

Please allow me to highlight some of the programmes by our Provincial Government that seek to restore the dignity of women and advance gender equality.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) plays a key role in food security, stimulating growth and job creation. This year DARD introduced the initiative called, "One Home One Garden Project" to support needy families so that they can start their vegetable gardens.

We are aware of Uthingo Organic Academy founded by a woman agricultural graduate, Zama Ngubane, and their partnership with " Ithemba for the Disabled" at uMhlathuze Local Municipality which supports 19 disabled people who have established a nursery specialising in organic seedlings.

DARD promotes the participation of women and women with disabilities and their agricultural businesses through its Female Entrepreneur Awards programme. The long term objective of these Awards is to support the development of women entrepreneurs from being subsistence and smallholder producers to commercial entrepreneurs who venture into export markets.

DARD has committed to unlock 10 000 direct and indirect jobs for youth, out of school, unemployed graduates and those young people who have a passion for agriculture. The programme will deliberately target young women into the agricultural sector.

In the current financial year, the Department is implementing community-based projects under Land Care to rehabilitate agricultural land and create over 1100 EPWP job opportunities.

DARD is planning to hand over a number of projects during Women's Month. These include:

YamaNdosi Feedlot at uMtubatuba in uMkhanyakude district,

Masisukume Tunnel Project at uMlalazi in King Cetshwayo district,

KwaGwebu diptank at AbaQulusi in the Zululand district,

Bumbanani MaNtimande Irrigation System at Alfred Duma in Uthukela district,

Siphiwayinkosi grazing camp at Msinga in uMzinyathi,

Khulakahle Goat Project and Hlubi irrigation system at Alfred Dumal Local in uThukela district.

Another project of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRD&LR) and the Agriculture Development Agency (ADA) to launch include the TSAR Beef trading which is 100% black female-owned. The project also supports production of timber, grain production, and grazing.

Apart from these projects, DARD in collaboration with Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) will also launch Aqhamile Agri Enterprise (Pty), a start-up business operating on 16.5ha farm focusing on vegetable production in the Weenen area.

The province has escalated the provision of farmer support programmes to emerging and small scale farmers through the Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) programme. The support included, among others, facilitation of market access, supply of inputs such as seed & fertilizer. This assistance saw a number of women emerging and small scale farmers supplying fresh farm produce to the market every week. It is encouraging to note that all the fresh farm produce included in the government food parcels distributed to the vulnerable through the Department of Social Development was sourced from emerging farmers through the RASET programme.

EDTEA disbursed a total R14 million to women owned cooperatives in areas of clothing and textile, recycling, art and craft, carpentry and agriculture, there-by facilitating the creation of 91 jobs. A further R10 million was utilized to provide mentorship to 62 women owned cooperatives in Umkhanyakude Umgungundlovu; Amajuba; Uthukela; Zululand District and King Cetshwayo districts. The mentorship provided in partnership with SEDA covered areas of block making, furniture, recycling, and agriculture.

In order to create productive capacity, the Operation Vula programme has seen the province supporting enterprises through capital equipment. In this regard, 40 different industrial machines were availed to a women owned Clothing Factory at UMsinga in order to ramp production potential.

In order to improve access to markets, EDTEA working with the UN Women provided an opportunity to 20 women businesses to attend and exhibit at the Smart Procurement that took place at Durban ICC in June 2019.

Nine female owned KZN manufacturers were assisted to showcase their products at the Africa Fashion Week London.

In the last two weeks, 4 women owned cooperatives in King Cetshwayo district were assisted to secure a market for supplying over 40 000 cloth masks to Richards Bay Minerals.

KwaZulu-Natal has partnered with various partners including the UN Women to implement a skills development programme aimed at empowering women enterprises. The programme y aims to support emerging women entrepreneurs through business skills and product development programme and platform. More than 67 women from KZN were assisted to benefit from this programme.

We are also glad to report that Ubuhle Towels (Pty) Ltd (75% Black woman-owned company), invested R132 million in towel manufacturing. And Elegant Afro Line (Pty) Ltd , a 100% SA Black woman-owned company, is investing about R900 million in chemicals in the Richards Bay IDZ.

Through the Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women Entrepreneurship Programme, KwaZulu-Natal has created a platform for existing and aspiring business women to access critical information through a series of informative workshops run across KZN initiated by Ithala and hosted in partnership with EDTEA.

The KZN Women in Tourism Chapter was launched with the aim to grow women in the sector, capacitate and ensure participation in the mainstream economy. We are happy by the decision of national government to ease the lockdown restrictions that had caused much strain to the tourism sector and suffering to the many women who work in the sector or run their businesses.

The Department of Education in the province will continue to use the National School Nutrition programme as a tool for poverty alleviation and ensuring women's participation in business within the sector. As we speak, no less than 300 women cooperatives have been established to provide meals to schools. And there are approximately 10 113 women food handlers employed in the programme to prepare meals for the learners.

DOE supports women and girls through its Sanitary towels dignity programme. The focus is mainly on schools in quintile 1, 2 and 3. At the same time, the Department working social partners, is implementing programmes to reduce teenage pregnancy, keep girls in school, and also increase their participation in Coding, Maths, Science, Technology and Engineering.

The Department of Transport's Zibambele Programme is a routine road maintenance in low volume roads targeting primarily thousands of women from poor households.

DOT also supports widows in the taxi industry. These women are empowered with information about legal compliance requirements such as registration of mini bus taxi.

The Department of Transport has adopted the iGula (Radical Economic Transformation) RET policy to prioritise entities owned and managed by designated groups, including women. This policy allows sub-contracting for projects of R10 million, for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects. No less than 65 women owned entities have benefitted thus far.

The Department of Public Works' Eyesizwe Contractor Development Programme is key to supporting emerging contractors, especially women contractors.

The programme is targeted at contractors on Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) grades 1-6. Measures are in place to facilitate the spread of work through limiting the number of concurrently awarded tenders.

For all projects awarded to Contractors in CIDB grade 7 and above, sub-contracting of 30% is compulsory to designated groups (Youth, Women, Military Veterans and People Living with Disability) within the ECDP database from Grade 1-6. The Department plans to award 675 projects by 2024.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our province is making progress in achieving gender parity in Senior Management in the public service. Overall, in 2019, KZN had 43 women % representation at SMS and in 2020, it is at 46%, marking a 3% improvement. The Department of Human Settlements takes the cap and we applaud it for leading by example. In August 2020, it stands at 58% from 54% last year, August. Cooperative Governance is also impressive at 54%, followed by Transport and Treasury both at 53%. KZN Education and Arts and Culture need to address the low levels of women at SMS.

The private sector has a lot to learn from the public sector when it comes to gender mainstreaming and attaining gender equality. We challenge the private sector to support economic transformation and gender equality by faithfully implementing the Employment Equity Act and the Black Economic Empowerment Act.

The 2019 B-BEEE Commission Report notes that:

Black ownership increased from 25% in 2018 to 29% in 2019. There is also an increase in the number of JSE-listed entities which are 100% black-owned.

The percentage of 100% black-owned JSE listed entities in 2018 was 1.2%, however in 2019, 3.3% of the entities listed on the JSE were 100% black-owned.

But, the percentage of black South Africans holding directorships decreased from 45% in 2018 to 39% in 2019.

The B-BBEE Commission shows that there is a need to address the lack of black female and black male representation at board level to transform JSE-listed entities.

We support the steps that are being taken by Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Nxesi, to enforce compliance with the Employment Equity Act in order to end discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and disability in the workplace. Steps are underway to ensure that employers who do not have employment equity certificates are barred from accessing state contracts.

Ending Gender Based Violence and Femicide

Ladies and Gentlemen, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide is a widespread problem in KwaZulu-Natal, impacting on almost every aspect of life.

GBV disproportionately affects women and girls. It is systemic, and deeply entrenched in institutions, cultures and traditions. GBV occurs as a result of normative role expectations and unequal power relationships between genders in our society.

We call on men to stop GBV and Femicide. Enough is enough. It must be our generational mission to bring the boy child and the girl child in relations of equality and mutual respect.

We also call on society not to shame girls and women who are raped as this make it difficult for women to report this despicable crime.

As Premier, I wish to assure the people of KwaZulu-Natal that we are seized 24/7 with this battle of ending GBV and Femicide Please play your part.

Last year September, we heard about the gruesome murder of four children by hanging by their father, Sibusiso Mpungose, in Wybank. In November, the father was sentenced to four life sentences.

In February 2020, the Estcourt Regional Court sentenced Menzi Dlamini to two life terms after being found guilty of murder, rape, and housebreaking. The case dates back to 2014, and the conviction was secured because of a combination of forensic evidence and witness testimony.

At the beginning of July 2020, a 34 year old man from Manguzi was sentenced to life imprisonment for repeatedly raping her 13 year old daughter. The victim informed her teacher who subsequently reported the crime to the police. There are fears that there is a serial killer in Ugu North. Nelisiwe Dube, Nosipho Gumede, Akhona Gumede and Baja Duma were found raped and brutally murdered. Also, four women from Nkambeni and Mnafu have been reported missing in the last few months. We call on the public to be vigilant and assist in the arrest of the offender.

Nationally, sexual offences statististics stand at 53 293, up 1.7 % from last year's figures which stood at 52 420. KZN is a big contributor to these unacceptably high incidence of rape and murder.

In our province, Sexual Offences rose by 5.4% to 9 809 incidents in the 2019/2020 reporting period (April 2019-March 2020). Problematic areas include: Inanda, Umlazi, Plessislaer, Empangeni, KwaDukuza, Osizweni, Pongola, KwaMashu E-Section, Mountain Rise and Eshowe. Within this category, Rape increased by 4.6% (standing at 8 268 reported cases), Sexual Assault increased by 8% (standing at 1 367 reported cases) and Contact Sexual Offences increased by 24.3% (standing at 174 reported cases).

In the top 30 national rape ranking, Inanda ranks first, Umlazi second, Plessislaer 4th, Empangeni 13th, and Osizweni 28th.

The KZN turn-around plan is informed by the evidence on the ground and as devised a strategy that addresses scourge.

We know from our research that these cases are committed against women and children, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) and this mainly take place within the residential areas, open fields, and liquor outlets.

In the hotspots stations, all effective enforcement are being monitored daily by the District Commissioners; and all operations are now headed by senior officers.

From the beginning of the lockdown on 27 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, the GBV statistics in the top 10 stations are as follows:

Plessislaer (126); Inanda (114); Umlazi (104); Empangeni (98); Madadeni (92); Ntuzuma (86); Mountain Rise (78); Eshowe (73); Osizweni (66); Kwadukuza (60).

From 1 July 2020, SAPS responded to 1005 GBV cases. The top ten stations were Umlazi, Inanda, KwaDukuza, Ntuzuma, Empangeni, Plessislaer, Verulam, Ladysmith, Madadeni, and Ezakheni. The total number of arrests so far is 184.

Eighteen female victims and five male victims have been put into shelters.

The number of people that received psychosocial support through the Department of Social Development are as follows:

01-06 July = 628

07-12 July =497

13-20 July = 658

21-27 July = 656

28-31 July = 446

03 August 2020 = 166

Reported cases of domestic violence that occurred during the lockdown between 23 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 are as follows:

Amajuba District - 288; Ethekwini District -1418; Harry Gwala District - 143; ILembe - 168; King Cetshwayo District - 409; Ugu District - 311; Umgungundlovu District - 596; Uthukela District - 362; - Umzinyathi District - 105; Umkhanyakude District - 145; Zululand District - 175

Ladies and Gentlemen, Government calls on our citizens to comment on the Victim Support Services (VSS) Bill which seeks to combat the surge of crime, in particular gender based and femicide.

Through the Victims Support Services Bill, secondary victimization will be deemed illegal. The Bill stipulates the various services to be provided to victims and also advocates for the legal representation of victims.

The Domestic Violence Act is also under review and being strengthened to make it easier to obtain protection orders against acts of domestic violence. The Bill will also impose obligations on the Department of Health and Social Development to provide specific services to victims of domestic violence.


Compatriots, addressing a conference in 1961, Lilian Masediba Ngoyi reminded the women of our country that: "Freedom does not come walking towards you - it must be won. As women we must go on playing our part."

And I dare add that the economic emancipation of women and ending gender based violence will not be achieved through talk alone. It requires hard work, organisation, and commitment. It demands that we must unite now and fight together to end inequality and GBV.

It means going back to the traditions of organs of people's power, of street committees, of being vigilant in every ward and voting district. We must again be each other's keepers. Our laws alone will not transform behaviour, so we must socialise our children differently and create a more humane and a caring society.

It means that we must get the South African private sector to support the economic emancipation of women so that women do not have to be forced to survive in abusive relationships because they lack the means to be independent.

As we are faced we with Covid-19 which is disproportionately affecting the impoverished women of our country, we call again on the women of our country to lead from the front in the battle of saving lives as women like Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Winnie Mandela, and Charlotte Maxeke would have done.

As I conclude, please allow me to conclude with the wise words of the mother of black freedom in Africa, Charlotte Maxeke, who said:

"This work is not for yourselves. Kill that spirit of self. If you can rise, bring someone with you".

Let us ensure that indeed the rays of our new South Africa continue to rise as MaNgoyi had envisioned.

Nkosi Sikelela i-Afrika!

Let Us Grow KwaZulu-Natal Together!


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