Polokwane resolution #2: Women's ministry
How much progress has the ANC made on their last set of goals, before they look to setting new resolutions at the conference? Look out for our series of reports on how the party's wishes have been achieved under president Jacob Zuma's leadership.
Resolution: Further investigation is necessary on the appropriate government structures to address issues affecting women, including the establishment of a women’s ministry. Serious consideration is given to the establishment of a women’s ministry.
Progress: The first ministry of women, children and people with disabilities was established when President Jacob Zuma put together his Cabinet in 2009. Led by the South African Communist Party and trade union leader Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, the ministry struggled to get off the ground to deliver what it was created to achieve, and women’s groups and gender activists alike slammed the ineffectiveness of the ministry. Even the ANC Women’s League, which spearheaded the lobbying for the creation of this ministry, was unhappy with its less than impressive slow pace. Some blamed the overloading of responsibilities on the ministry for the difficulties it encountered. The original idea of this ministry did not include children and people with disabilities.
Mayende-Sibiya was replaced by Lulu Xingwana in a 2010 reshuffle, but challenges still remain with regard to liberating women from several socio-economic woes. Even a Chapter 9 institution created to prioritise women, the Commission on Gender Equality, is still trying to redeem itself after years of difficulties, and the introduction of the women’s ministry provided little positive support. Despite the creation of the women’s ministry, women are still the most affected by poverty, domestic violence and abuse, while people with disabilities remain mostly isolated from their communities. This is one of the issues the Mangaung congress will need to deliberate on, and propose ways of making the ministry effective.