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Minister in the Presidency, Ms Susan Shabangu, gave her Budget Vote Speech

31 May 2017

Madam Speaker:
His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma
Deputy President
Honourable Members
Distinguished guests

As I stand here today, once more in deep pain Hannah Cornelius of Stellenbosch, Unathi Madotyeni of Langa and Iyapha Yamile of Khayelitsha once more were killed this week.

In KZN last week, two women were brutally stabbed to death. A 14 year old girl who was looking after her grandmother who is disabled went missing and was later found dead brutally stabbed and another one was found with multiple stab wounds also dead.

We have buried many in the last week. Once more, I wish to pay my condolences to all the families. May their souls rest in peace!

These heinous murders of women and children by their boyfriends, fathers, husbands and uncles who are supposed to love them must stop.

This year we celebrate the life of our beloved struggle icon Oliver Reginald Tambo for his heroic contribution to the liberation of the South African people - and more specifically his role in championing the course of women and children emancipation. In the words of OR Tambo:

"Other men and women of conscience must themselves join in this struggle because none can reckon themselves human and be unconcerned about what is happening to the young. We would expect that people of all faiths would feel moved by their own beliefs to say we too must be counted amongst those who stood up in defence of the children."

South Africans, we are now dealing with criminality of the savage side of humanity. Every time we lose a woman or a girl child from violence, we are destroying our future generation.

These are violent crimes of power and control over women's bodies and should be understood within our patriarchal social realities. No woman or human being deserves this level of cruelty. Patriarchy must fall...!

Good men and women have an important role to play in this struggle and good men have started speaking out to other men about stopping the violence and rape culture saying - "Not in My Name - #Enough is Enough...!". We plead with South Africans, to "Break the Silence," you need to be "Counted In." Stand against corruption, violence, women abuse and children abuse.

As Members of Parliament, what are you doing to address this violence against women in your own constituencies? What is the opposition doing? You call for me to apologise because you do not understand the plight of women.

The battle against violence against women is for all of us. Men and women must take a stand.

Communities are taking a stand getting organised to march and to establish organisations in response to violence against women. The communities are working with law enforcement to ensure that perpetrators are arrested.

I call on society to unite in fighting gender-based violence. We must get to a point where we encourage good behavior and instill better values. As a department we will continue to work with social partners, traditional leaders, religious leaders, the private sector, men's organisations and taxi associations.

It would also be good to see some of us expending our energies to the cause in the marches taking place against gender-based violence. Soon we will be going to ask for women to vote for us, but what are we doing now to help them in their hour of need.

In the past few days, my office and the Department have received correspondence from individuals and organisations that are ready to work with us in stopping this carnage.

We are running a campaign #365 Days of no Violence against Women and Children. The #16 days of activism we ran since 1998 was not enough to address our challenges.

His Excellency, President Zuma launched the National Dialogues in the Limpopo Province. The Dialogues are a mode of engagement with the victims and perpetrators of violence against women. The purpose is to use the information gathered and lessons learned, to prevent the abuse of women and children and to raise awareness.

The Dialogues are an integrated approach towards Gender Based Violence in communities with the intention of finding lasting solutions. We are in partnership with government departments at national, provincial and local including the churches, traditional leaders, civil society, legal and the private sector. Some of the issues raised during the pilot in the Limpopo Province include:

  • Incest
  • Alcohol and drug abuse with men spending more time in Shebeens
  • HIV positive young men raping elderly people with the wrong belief that they will be cured. It is so unfortunate!

These Dialogues are also assisting us in the empowerment of women. In the course of our engagements, we have created opportunities for 24 young unemployed women from indigent families who are currently in training with the Ekurhuleni Skills Development Center as I speak. The skills development programme will make them artisans.


As part of our commitment to roll out Dialogues to other provinces, next month we will be rolling out our Dialogues in the Mpumalanga. Siyeza!

We are excited that "She Conquers Campaign" which is led by the Honourable Deputy President will be partnering with us in Mpumalanga. The Campaign focuses on reducing the high levels of new HIV infections among girls and young women, teenage pregnancies, school dropout rates, sexual and gender-based violence. The campaign also seeks to keep the girl-child at school until age 24.

We intend to ensure that the Dialogues are more inclusive and reciprocal in seeking out new ways on how to eradicate Violence against Women.

This week marks our National Child Protection Week which continues to raise awareness for the rights of children. It is during this week that we focus on children. Whilst recognising the right of children, let's not forget those children that are currently missing.

We must go back to basics where a child is raised by all of us, "Your Child is My Child." We need to care for every child in our communities and stay true to the African value system of a village raising a child.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of National Youth Month which pays tribute to the school children who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 Uprising in Soweto.

June 16 marked the importance of both young men and young women. They fought together in the liberation of our country. The same commitment we got from the youth of 1976 must be the same commitment that get from men and young men in committing to stop violence against women and children.

We must all play our part in our homes, where children are supposed to be loved in safety, and socialized to become our future. We must also play part in our communities, including places of work to prevent violence against women and children.

Giving your child a hug, embracing and showing love and care are important in the nurturing of our children. Scientists have proven that we can influence and change the cause of our children's lives and future by what we as parents and caregivers do in the first one thousand days of our lives.

It is the position of this Government that it is only through full engagement of the talents and skills of women in the workplace that would make us more productive and prosperous.

The National Development Plan envisages utilisation of public resource for the socioeconomic empowerment of women and promotion of gender equality. Realising the Vision 2030 Government will continue to prioritise women's access to
economic opportunities, and in particular, to business financing and credit.

The Department is focusing on some element of the 9-Point Plan which includes Monitoring Ownership and Management Control, Development Finance and Enterprise Development.

Statistics on women involvement in the economy continue to be cause for concern. We have therefore commissioned a study to help us understand access to finance by women. The findings will also help us understand the extent to which women are funded to participate adequately in our economic growth.

By introducing the National Minimum Wage, hundreds of thousands of women who are unemployed in South Africa will have an opportunity to earn decent wages as a major step towards achieving a living wage, particularly for farm workers and domestic workers.

South Africa is a signatory to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The Protocol prohibits marriages of girls below the age of 18. South Africa must consider domesticating this Protocol. The Protocol is consistent with the objective of "She Conquers Campaign" to keep young girls at school up to the age of 24.

Our Bill of Rights and the Children's Act's define a 'child' as 'a person under the age of 18 years'. Bill of Rights specifically states that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.

With the various challenges and ills facing our society, especially the girl child, we need to make sure that the girl child is nurtured to the fullest without any inhibition.

In closing:

I hope that none of our Members of Parliament are counted as "Blessers" who abuse their powerful positions in society to gain sexual favours from students and unemployed young women.

I challenge this House and all Members of Parliament including members of Provincial Legislatures to live by example and pay a minimum living wage to their domestic workers.

The advancement of women should not be seen outside the broader programme of our transformation agenda.

When we open access to students whose parents earn below Six Hundred Thousand Rands, we are relieving the burden from mothers whose children are yearning for higher education.

When we provide houses to our people, we are giving shelter and assets to women who have been deprived of security of shelter.

By providing health services to women including sex workers, we are restoring the dignity for women who are in the margins of society.

When we make calls for transformation, employment equity and sub-contracting, we are saying to Corporate South Africa and to Government that South African women have a role to play in our economy.

I thank you!

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