Speech by the Deputy Minister of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services,
Honourable Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize
During the Occasion of 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children
Cosmo City, Multipurpose Centre
03 December 2015
THEME: “Count me in: together moving a non-violent South Africa forward.”
NCVT SOCIAL WORKERS
COSMO CITY COMMUNITY MEMBERS
LEADERSHIP OF COSMO CITY
MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Programme Director, allow me to first start by showing gratitude to the organisers of this session, the National Children and Violence Trust, for their continued persistence to ensure that support is given to vulnerable groups. NCVT, your work is in line with one of the founding values of our Constitution, “Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms”. Your work also contributes largely to one of the affirmations in our Constitution’s Preamble: “Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person”. You might have not realised the significance of your contribution to the entire ecosystem, but just know that you have a lot to offer.
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST VIOLENCE ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Since last week Wednesday, 25 November 2015, the United Nations and all its member states, of which South Africa is one, embarked on the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence of Women and Children. This campaign was kicked off with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and will continue until 10 December 2015, which is an International Human Rights Day.
This year’s campaign was launched by President Zuma on the 25 November 2015 at the North West Province under the 2015 theme “Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward”.
As we embark on this campaign, we are also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive road map to gender equality. It has been twenty years since the Fourth World Conference on Women set out an expansive vision and landmark set of commitments for achieving gender equality in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It was in 1995, when the gender equality advocates brought to the fore the lack of empowerment and the multitude of human rights violations experienced by women and girls and the need for comprehensive laws and policies as well as the transformation of institutions, both formal and informal, to achieve gender equality and the full realization of the human rights of women and girls.
This year a new Sustainable Development agenda, which for the first time includes specific targets and indicators on ending violence against women, replaced the Millennium Development Goals. The scope of the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals goes far beyond the MDGs. Alongside continuing development priorities such as poverty eradication, health, education and food security and nutrition, it sets out a wide range of economic, social and environmental objectives. It also promises more peaceful and inclusive societies. It also, crucially, defines means of implementation
UNITED NATION’S ORANGE EVENTS
The United Nations Secretary-General has invited all the member states to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world by join the “UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign” and to “Orange the world: End violence against women and girls.”
Today’s event serves as one of the orange events organised around the world to take action to end violence against women and girl children. This is even a better engagement since the community, who are the major stakeholder, are involved in the discussions.
MAKING USE OF ICTs TO TRANSFORM OUR COMMUNITY INTO SAFE PLACES OF RESIDENCE
One on the declarations of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 is to:
“ ….to provide children and youth with a nurturing environment for the full realization of their rights and capabilities, helping our countries to reap the demographic dividend including through safe schools and cohesive communities and families…”
ICT is an essential tool for the social and economic development of women and girls. Technology can be used to provide education as well as jobs, literacy and life skills training. ICT allows female learners to discover educational opportunities, improve academic performance, and prepare them to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. These goals highlight education as a community asset that can benefit from readily available technology.
Making use of the former Thusong Centers Model, the Department will in partnership with the municipalities, other social partners and participating companies in the broadband roll-out, create localised ICT Hubs for coordination and integration of the last mile connectivity. Within these localized ICT Hubs the Department will focus on the improvement of e-literacy (e-Skills), e-enterprise development, youth inclusion and local economic empowerment. All these will be done with a view that jobs for the future will be ICT informed.
Within these localised ICT Hubs, our partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, through their agency the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is critical. The CSIR is the anchor to these localised ICT Hubs and have an active role to play in the areas of preparing our poor communities for the digital future as well as Research, Development and Innovation.
Other initiatives have long been available in the ICT sector to bring to an end women and child abuse. Over the years, Telkom has sponsored the Childline Initiative which involved troubled children calling in and getting councelling over the phone. With the changing ICT landscape we now have initiates whereby children and women can log-in on a website chat to other people from various parts of the world and get assistance. During the previous year’s “16 Days of Activism Campaign” we have successfully launched a web-based solution, a website called www.ulwazi.ict.co.za for abused women in the North West Province.
WOMEN ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
One of the critical tools which women can use to remain economically stable is education. As one of the Beijing Declarations, the UN Women and all the women activist from various Member States saw a greater need for countries to “Promote life-long education and training for girls and women”. Education is one of the pillars of economic emancipation.
During the of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children, President Jacob Zuma said:
“Beyond the laws, we also need to look at socio-economic conditions which make women vulnerable. Unemployment forces some women to remain in relationships that are not conducive to their health and wellbeing.
If a woman depends on the abuser for housing and general living expenses, they are unlikely to act and report a violent partner to the police or to walk out on them to protect their lives and that of the children.
Women are also marginalised in terms of access to land, credit and finance, which makes them prone to violence and abuse.
The advancement of the economic empowerment of women is thus critical for us to fight the scourge of abuse and violence.”
As government we take the issue of women economic empowerment very serious. There are deliberate programmes aimed at improving the lives of women and young girls.
Some of these programmes includes the following:
Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment – As government we have in the past introduced the Broad Economic Empowerment legislation to address inequality, but later realized that it only benefitted few individuals especially men. The BEE legislation has since been amended to be Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment in order for it to cater for the broader society. The legislation gives preference to women in business to ensure their inclusion in the mainstream economy and full participation thereof.
Support for Small Businesses – Government has made a deliberate move to support small businesses and cooperatives which is more reason why women should be encouraged to participate in these business ventures. A new ministry which focuses solely on the needs for small businesses has also been created. This new Ministry is aimed at fostering development of small businesses.
Access to Finance – We acknowledge that the main issue hindering women participation in the economy has always been access, access to financing and access to the markets.
Business Funding Opportunities for Women – There are funding opportunities provided by government exclusively for women. Examples of such funding is the Women Entrepreneurial Fund offered by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This fund applies to businesses with a minimum shareholding by women of at least 50%. The fund can apply to a start-up business or for expansions purposes. There is also the Isivande Women's Fund (IWF) which aims to accelerate women's economic empowerment by providing more affordable, usable and responsive finance than is currently available. The IWF assists with support services to enhance the success of businesses. It pursues deals involving start-up funding, business expansion, business rehabilitation, franchising and bridging finance. This just goes to show how committed our government is in ensuring the inclusion of women into the mainstream economy.
Continued Education for Women – The other important factor which will ensure continued inclusion and participation of women in the economy is education. Government has removed all the barriers which were hampering our people to have access to quality education. There are various efforts available to ensure that we are an educated nation. For those who were not able to finish the high school education there are TVET Colleges which assists in augmenting those lessons that were not acquired from high school and can act as a stepping stone towards Universities of technology. FETs are an education and training programme provided from Grades 10 to 12, including career-oriented education and training offered in technical colleges, community colleges and private colleges. FET colleges are playing a growing role in the provision of the intermediate to higher-level skills required to support economic growth and development. The other opportunities are available in Universities.
Bursary Opportunities – There are a lot of bursary opportunities available today than they were in the past. Some of these can be obtained from our State Owned Companies.
Industrialisation – One of the key economic priorities of government is industrialization. We encourage women to voluntarily participate in business ventures such as cooperatives and small businesses whereby they will give each other support. We should align ourselves with the priorities of government in order to benefit our societies and also benefit from incentives offered by government. I believe that as women we are capable and we can come up with industrial ideas which can later graduate from being backyard operations into huge firms which will employ the majority of our unemployed society.
As part of government’s radical economic transformation programme of this term of government, we aim to create hundred black industrialists in the next three years, who will participate in the productive sectors of the economy.
Preferential Procurement – Other measures include reforms to the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA), customising incentive schemes offered by government and its agencies, launching a new financial support scheme suitable for black industrialists and the establishment of an advisory panel on black industrialists.
Local Production and Procurement – Local procurement and increased domestic production will be at the centre of efforts to transform our economy and will be buoyed by a government undertaking to buy 75% of goods and services from South African producers.
Working together as government, civil society and the private sector we can transform our community into safe places of residence. It all begins with me as an individual, all our collective individual efforts will count towards the greater good of the society.
The wonderful work that NCVT has started here today must be replicated in orther communities to ensure the creation of safer communities within the entire country. Let’s all get counted in moving South Africa forward into a non-violent country.
I thank you.