Debate on National Women’s Day: Advancing gender equality through inclusive economic growth and the precepts of a capable developmental state
Speech by Marie Sukers MP
ACDP says women need to unite and lead to transform the public service
As Women’s Month comes to a close today, it is evident that we can no longer continue on the trajectory that we are on as a nation.
Our country, South Africa, was been blessed with exceptional women leaders who left behind a legacy of how to lead with conviction and compassion in pursuit of justice. The example of Ma Charlotte Maxeke has long been abandoned by the political leadership of our country: to live a life of self-abandonment is not the political culture of our day. Self-enrichment, we know all too well, but no moral and effective leadership that captures the hearts of our people – to rule by winning the hearts and minds of people takes much more than a food parcel and T-shirt.
Our nation is staggering under the weight of our collective failures to assume responsibility not for colored women, black women or white women, but for all women.
Lydia Ross died in December last year of Covid-19. She was a woman of great character, who waited on a housing waiting list for over 30 years. Chairperson, she died without receiving the house that she was promised with each and every election cycle. She was a mother and grandmother, who worked for most of her adult life, yet she died without a pension, and still waited on her unemployment benefits to be paid out to her – almost a year after having applied for it.
Faranaaz Farmer-Mentoor, 32 years of age, a mother of three, murdered in broad daylight in a wendy house by a repeat violent offender who was out on bail.
Chairperson, both women I have mentioned lost their lives and never owned a home. The ACDP has repeatedly called for accelerated housing initiatives for vulnerable women and their children. We also want these initiatives to provide a degree of integrated social up-liftment and economic advancement.
A disturbing report, by viewfinder, provides a horrific picture of abuse by police against women who seek help. The report covers over 1 000 cases since 2012, with at least a third of the cases registered with IPID, happening while police were on duty at the time these crimes were committed. Most of these cases went unpunished and never saw any convictions or court appearances.
We have a culture of rampant abuse against women that allows for the worst of crimes to go without punishment, and seemingly no remedy to cure it. It prevails because we are unwilling to address the root causes of societal issues, and because the State claims to be able to do all things – which it cannot!!! A sluggish and ineffective State perpetuates the evil we are faced with daily!
Women leaders must lead the way to transform the public service. There has never been a greater need, than there is today, for strong moral leadership in the vacuum that exists.
I would recommend that we follow the example set by the generation of 1956, who united beyond politics to demand justice, and not positions and economic advancement at the expense of good governance.
Chairperson, it must be our purpose, especially in these times, to ensure that there is justice for the many women whose voices we represent in this house.
I thank you.”1