North West MEC for Community Safety and Transport Management, Dir Mpho Motlhabane;
National Transport DDG for Roads, Mr Chris Hlabisa;
CEO of RTMC – Mr Makhosini Msibi;
Head of Department of Community Safety and Transport, Ms Botlhale Mofokeng;
Officials from all spheres of government;
Our esteem women Law Enforcement Officers;
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
In the month of August, we pay tribute to the countless heroines who made it possible for us to enjoy our freedom.
All of us should use this month to reflect on the challenges facing all the women of this country and evaluate progress we are making in ensuring that South Africa becomes a truly non-sexist society.
Responding to the clarion call ‘Wathint'abafazi, wanthint'imbokodo’, the 1956 women assumed the position of being the backbone of our society and correctly defined their struggles in the context of the broader struggle for national liberation.
These visionary women knew that their emancipation would one day become the general measure of the emancipation of society as a whole.
Today, we should ask ourselves as to what more should we do to ensure that the empowerment and emancipation of women becomes a daily reality.
As we celebrate this Women`s month, we should resolve to accelerate women’s progress towards gender equality both in the public and private sectors and in the society as a whole.
We should use this month to ask ourselves as to what more we must do to end all forms of women abuse and violence against women and children, including the terrible crime of rape.
Our country has witnessed horrific incidents recently of the killing of women by men known to them such as intimate partners and also total strangers. Several children have also been attacked and killed.
These incidents have caused enormous pain and distress in the country.
The crimes against women take many forms - physical, sexual, economic, psychological and emotional, and they all represent a violation of human rights and dignity. The crimes include sexual offences, human trafficking, domestic violence and the criminal victimisation of elderly women who are accused of witchcraft.
We all must work in partnerships and implement programmes that would help us push back the frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment and inequalities that characterise the lives of millions of women in this country.
It is therefore, befitting that year after year, we continue to pay tribute and salute all our unsung heroines who led by example and left us a legacy of the true meaning of courage, sacrifice and determination in pursuit of the noble goal of equality, freedom and justice for all.
I refer here to heroines of our struggle such as Charlotte Maxeke, Ray Alexander, Ida Ntwana, Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Lily Diedericks, Francis Baard, Rahima Moosa, Florence Matomela, Victoria Mxenge, Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Madikizela Mandela and many others who throughout the long years of struggle for freedom demonstrated fortitude in confronting the white minority rule.
These women and many others who believed in the possibility of a South Africa based on non-racial, non-sexist, just and democratic ideals, freedom and equality represent the very essence of being human.
This year, we celebrated the National Women’s Day under the theme;
“The Year of OR Tambo: Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”.
We thus also celebrate the life of the former ANC President and one of the greatest sons and leaders of our country, Oliver Reginald Tambo. He would have turned 100 years old this year had he lived.
President Tambo was a leading proponent of women's emancipation within the liberation movement. He consistently articulated the position that the oppression of women is linked with racial and class oppression.
He urged women to be their own liberators and participate actively in the struggle against national oppression and also gender equality.
When we look back at the road travelled in the past 23 years, we are pleased with the progress that has been made at the level of socio-economic transformation.
Women are the primary beneficiaries of government’s programmes aimed at fighting poverty.
Basic services such as water, electricity, housing, roads, access to education and health have been extended to more communities each year since 1994, with women being key beneficiaries. Women experience change directly when these services are provided by government in their communities.
As the Department of transport, part of our commitment towards promoting radical socio-economic transformation, is our continued prioritisation of women’s access to economic opportunities.
As the transport sector, it has been very interesting to note that since the launch of the South African Network for Women in Transport (SANWIT) in 2008, we continue to record some pockets of achievements in transforming and integrating women into the mainstream transport sector.
SANWIT was born out of a need to break existing barriers for entry into the transport sector and demystify existing myths about the role of women in the transport sector.
As a Department of Transport, we have a responsibility to encourage women to enter and succeed in the transport industry, amongst other through facilitating women enterprise development; lobbying and advocating for a policy environment supports and enable the sustainability of women enterprises and employment.
In this regard, we took decisions that all public entities in the transport sector must have specific allocated budgets for Women, Youth and People Living with Disabilities.
In capital projects, SANRAL has ensured the recruitment of local women, youth and people living with disabilities. PRASA has allocated R3,5 billion over the MTEF period for the Women In Rail Programme. These are but two examples.
As the Department of Transport, we will be convening Transformation Summits in various sectors of transport to explore further opportunities that will benefit the previously disadvantaged, particularly women, youth and people living with disabilities.
SANRAL has revisited its contract model to comply with the 30% set aside requirements for the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) regulations for sub-contracting which will continue to priorities black youth, women, people with disabilities and people living in rural or underdeveloped areas including townships.
As the Department, we continue to evaluate and monitor the mandates of our State owned assets and enterprises to ensure that their social and economic mandates, including issues such as procurement, equity and transformation remain aligned to our economic transformation programme.
In this current financial year, we will fill vacancies of the Boards and Executive position of all Entities under the Department with biasness towards women.
In the current financial year (2016/17), as the Department of Transport, we celebrated the country’s first 3 black women, namely, Captain Thembela Taboshe, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi and Captain Pretty Molefe who all qualified as Master Mariners or Ship Captains.
This is the highest professional qualification for a seafarer enabling the holder to be in command of a vessel of more than 3000 gross tonnage.
We also are sponsoring women to be pilots and others to study aeronautical engineering as well as to be rail safety inspectors. These women are selected from both rural and urban areas to study and change the face and the slowly transforming transport sector.
As the Department, we are about to complete a Transport Sector Gender Policy that will be instrumental in fast-tracking the transformation and gender parity agenda.
I therefore call upon SANWIT to continue to mobilise women across all modes or sectors of transport under one umbrella throughout the nine (9) provinces and speak with one voice.
While we celebrate the advancement of women in the public sector, there is a continued exclusion of the majority of the population, both women and Africans, from decision-making positions in the private sector.
The statistics in the 2016-2017 Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report paints a bleak picture with regards to transformation. White people occupy 68 percent of the positions at Top Management level and 58 percent at Senior Management levels.
Women continue to be under-represented at 22 percent and 33 percent at Top and Senior Management positions respectively.
What is of great concern is that, one also notices that women are struggling to enter the labour market even at lower levels due to lack of skills. As a result, they are forced to turn to the informal sector to make ends meet.
Government has taken a decision that we should go beyond lamenting to enforcing equality within the workplace.
The Department of Labour has been directed to enforce the provisions of the Employment Equity Act more vigorously, so that the much needed radical socio-economic transformation can be realised.
In conclusion I would like to congratulate you the successful yearly planned joint law enforcement operation that was launched throughout the North West province in this month of August in an effort to reduce road crashes and raise awareness about road safety. Through your operation “Refiglile”, you showed now mercy for lawlessness on our roads.
As the Department through the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), we will continue to support you in order to overcome your challenges that confront you which are rooted in prejudices based on distinctions in gender.
We also note that there are organisational and personal challenges that woman face in law-enforcement.
Organizational challenges ranges from lack of diversity in the work place, equipment and uniforms that are improperly sized and lack of policies and guidelines addressing women issues.
The personal challenges are unsupportive families and, balancing work and family pressures. The road users also pose a challenge to you by continuing to display abusive behaviour toward you.
It is therefore befitting that as South Africa and a transport sector, we pledge to share information, knowledge and skills to promote women’s economic independence; including employment, and the eradication of the burden of poverty on women by addressing the structural causes of poverty.
This will be done through the changes in economic structures, rural and farm women in particular. We believe that women are vital development agents to productive resources, opportunities and public services.
I thank you.