Women changing SA for the better

Friday, August 9, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa says women in the workplace and in the boardrooms, in the factories and on the farms are changing South Africa for the better.

Speaking at this year’s Women’s Day celebration event held in Vryburg in the North West, on Friday, President Ramaphosa paid tribute to the present generation who have taken up the baton of struggle towards a truly non-sexist and egalitarian society. 

He said they were trail blazers in the workplace and in the boardrooms, in the factories and on the farms, in Parliament and in civil society organisations. 

“They are pathfinders like Dr Mary-Jane Bopape, the chief scientist for weather research at the South African Weather Service, who is leading a specialist team to produce this country’s first ever weather and climate change modelling system. 

“They are farming specialists like Mmabatho Morudi from right here in North West, whose farm in Winterveld offers free bee pollination services to rural farmers,” President Ramaphosa said.

He praised entrepreneurs like nuclear scientist Nomso Kana whose company manufactures fibre-optic cables that are critical for the rollout of broadband infrastructure. 

The President also paid tribute to researchers like University of the Western Cape graduate student Shireen Mentor, who grew up witnessing the ravages of drug abuse in her community of Mannenberg, and is now conducting ground-breaking research into the effects of substance abuse on the brain. 

He said all these women, and many, many more like them, are changing South Africa for the better. 

“They are shining examples of the strides our country has made since democracy, and of the even greater heights we are yet to attain,” he said.

Meanwhile, also speaking at the event was Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who said women must be supported to access opportunities.

She said although some women are free, they are still many women that are living in fear.

“Women today are still being abused, they raise children on their own while some are still living in fear,” the Minister said.

She said Women’s Day is not just an ordinary day, but it is a day that reminds South Africans that women fought for this democracy and marched to the Union Buildings.

The Minister called on South Africans to celebrate the day in remembrance of those women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956.

Local and surrounding communities in Vryburg came in their numbers to celebrate Women’s Day.

South Africans who came from other provinces were transported to the venue by busses and taxis.

Oratile Moteane, one of those who came to celebrate Women’s Day, told SAnews that she is happy that government is recognising the role played by women during the struggle.

“Women play a very important role in the communities and they should be respected,” Moteane said.

Echoing the same sentiments was Rebecca Mashiane from Limpopo who told SAnews that government must support women and create jobs for them. “Without women, they won’t be peace,” Mashiane said.

The month of August in South Africa is dedicated to the commemoration of the 1956 Women’s March. The iconic march saw 20 000 women march to the Union Buildings protesting against the pass laws.

This years’ annual commemoration was held under the theme: "25 Years of Democracy: Growing South Africa Together for Women’s Emancipation”.

This year’s annual commemoration coincides with the country’s celebration of 25 Years of Freedom and Democracy. – SAnews.gov.za