Hundreds of men and women, including Cabinet ministers, marched in Pretoria on Wednesday in support of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign.
The crowd, wearing white T-shirts bearing the words ”50/50 No compromise/no going back”, marched from Sammy Marks Square to the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum calling for more to be done for gender equality.
The memorandum, which acknowledged the government’s efforts in advancing gender equality, was received by Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad and signed by Deputy Minister of Provincial and Local Government Nomatyala Hangana.
Hangana was joined in the march by Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana and members of Gender Links and the African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League.
Singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka entertained the crowd gathered at the Union Buildings.
Bafana Khumalo of the Sonke Gender Justice Network said he was attending the march to reassert the principle of the 50/50 campaign for equal representation of men and women in the ruling party.
Khumalo said many men and young people had responded positively to the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
”We are concerned for the ruling party… there is a worrying trend that the majority of nominees [for the party presidency] are men. We need capable women in the presidency,” Khumalo said.
After delivering the memorandum, Hangana said: ”To curb the levels of violence against women and children, we’d like to see children be taught against women abuse.”
At the Union Buildings, Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi said the campaign should be a 365-day event. ”Levels of violence are high because of the psyche of our society. Until women and children are safe from violence, we cannot move ahead,” she said.
Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said no compromise should be made when it comes to abuse.
Referring to the upcoming ANC national conference in Polokwane in December, Fraser-Moleketi said she was hoping that a person with a consistent track record would be elected. ”I’m voting for someone with a consistent track record with no fear to develop and implement the ANC’s strategic policies to ensure that we have a unified country,” she said.
The ANC Women’s League’s Mavivi Mayakayaka-Manzini said it is important for women to continue fighting for gender equity.
Pahad said: ”There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a 50/50 balance in government,” adding that legislation of 50/50 representation should be passed at all spheres, including political parties and trade unions. — Sapa