KZN Women United in Moving South Africa Forward
During the two-day Women’s Parliament held on 7 and 8 August at Vulindlela Stadium in the upper Edendale in Umsunduzi Municipality to commemorate the women’s month, women from all political parties represented in the KZN Legislature were unanimous in the fight against gender-based violence and all forms of women and child abuse.
The Women’s Parliament is an annual programme of the KZN Legislature to celebrate the women’s month and to commemorate the Women’s March of 1956 in which women demonstrated their solidarity across racial lines in a bid to end oppressive laws, in particular, the carrying of discriminatory passes which were forced upon them by the apartheid regime.
The commemoration was combined with the celebration of the centenary of the two struggle icons, Mama Albertina Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, who turn 100 years this year.
Delegates went into commissions to discuss and explore various topics which focused on issues affecting women in a society in which they bear the brunt of all forms of abuse and economic exclusion. Commissions which met on the first day until very late, made several recommendations which were tabled at the plenary the following day and later adopted as resolutions of the Women’s Parliament.
In a period where abuse of women is rife, this year’s Women’s Parliament focused on a range of issues affecting ordinary women. Amongst other issues that were up for discussion included the following:
• Eradicating the scourge of gender-based violence.
• The efficacy of current policies and interventions to combat femicide and abuse in general.
• Focus on child marriages and assessment of South Africa’s international obligations, national laws and cultural practices to protect young girls and deliberated on the effects these marriages have on human rights of young girls.
• Patriarchy within the South African Police Service – fact or fiction? This question was discussed against the background of challenges faced by women when reporting cases of rape or other forms of physical abuse at police stations throughout South Africa.
Women resolved that their economic exclusion in various spheres of society remains a challenge to economic emancipation of women, and they have called upon the government to accelerate Radical Socio-Economic Transformation (RSET).
A discussion which they hoped would contribute to the current question of land redistribution took place in which women called for greater access to, and control over economic resources, including land.
The resolutions adopted by the Women’s Parliament will be forwarded to the provincial government for consideration which may ultimately lead to new legislation passed by the Legislature.