Call for more women officials in municipalities

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pretoria - The Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa (PWMSA) has called for representation of women in the appointments of new mayors and speakers of all municipalities, including metropolitan councils in the country.

During a meeting held on Saturday in Johannesburg and attended by a number of women leaders, the PWMSA raised concern that there might be reversal of the gains on the representation of women at local government, which stood at 40 percent before the local government elections on 18 May 2011.

Addressing the meeting, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana noted that while the ANC had the highest number of women candidates at 47 percent nationally, many opposition parties failed to field an adequate number of women to support efforts to increase women participation at local government.

"[This] demonstrates the urgent need for us to move with speed in the development of the Gender Equality Bill that will enforce the principle of 50/50 gender parity in all sectors of our society," Xingwana said, adding that consultations were underway with women at national and provincial level to ensure that this Bill encompasses their full aspirations.

The meeting resolved that the appointment of women should not be limited to smaller municipalities and rural districts, but should also include representation of women as mayors and speakers in metropolitan councils and other large municipalities.

PWMSA is a coalition of various women's organizations, including women's wings of political parties convened by National Chairperson of the ANC, Baleka Mbete.

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