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Women must occupy rightful place as leaders of SA - Mbeki

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Women must occupy rightful place as leaders of SA - Mbeki

by Michael Appel
11 Aug 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Government will do all it can to ensure women take their place as leaders of the country, says President Thabo Mbeki.

"Because of our commitment to ensure power to women, our government and legislatures have made important progress in ensuring women occupy their rightful place as leaders of our people.

"Indeed, this progressive advance has also had a positive impact on the private sector, organs of civil society and the rest of society," said Mr Mbeki.

The President was speaking at the National Women's Day celebration in the North West on Saturday.

He told the impoverished village of Ga-Motlatla, home to over thousands of people, that today South Africans are challenged by increasing food and fuel prices, which has had a knock-on effect on virtually every product.

"In all things we do, the main challenge has always been the struggle against poverty and underdevelopment.

"As we know, today the challenge is made more difficult by the ever increasing prices, especially of food and fuel.

"In response to these challenges and as part of our ongoing commitment to ensure a better life for all, the War on Poverty Campaign will be launched in all provinces this month.

"This is part of our commitment to do our work in the spirit of business unusual and power to the women," the President told the community and numerous dignitaries.

Women empowerment must be led by access to economic opportunities in both the public and private sectors, coupled with equal gender representation within structures of government.

The South Africa's Parliament is ranked 10th out of 130 nations in the world in terms of representation of women, highlighted the President.

Mr Mbeki, however, added that more still has to be done to ensure sooner rather than later, South Africa becomes the leading nation with regard to that important benchmark.

He said: "43 percent of members of Cabinet are women. Four of the nine provinces are led by women premiers.

"At local government level, 40 percent of councillors are women and three of our six metropolitan municipalities are led by woman mayors.

"Of importance is that South Africa has already surpassed the initial target of 30 percent representation of women in decision-making structures call for in the Southern African Development Community [SADC] Declaration on Gender and Development."

The President highlighted that to achieve and make good the promise of 1994 of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country, including the emancipation and empowerment of women, strong partnerships needed to be formed.

These partnerships include government, women's organisations, civil society, trade unions, business and all other organised formations as well as faith-based institutions.

"Today, on National Women's Day, we must renew our pledge to realise a vision of a non-sexist and non-racial society in which women are equal and active partners in building a new South Africa, and real beneficiaries of the new socio-economic order.

"We have progressed since the historic march to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956, however, the march has not yet ended," said Mr Mbeki. - BuaNews
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