Women in uniform pay tribute to 1956 march

Friday, August 25, 2017

Women from different departments of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the SA Medical Health Services (SAMS) on Friday paid tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956, in protest against pass laws.

Speaking at the annual women in uniform parade celebration at Thaba Tshwane, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief Director Human Resources Management, Major General Kathrine Mothlabane, called on women in the defence force to draw lessons from the women who marched to Union Buildings in 1956.

“United we should continue to make efforts to move the democratic South Africa forward,” said Major General Mothlabane.

Major General Mothlabane emphasised the importance of women emancipation and empowerment in the defence force for the attainment of vision 2030 as reflected in the National Development Plan.

“For the South African National Defence Force to achieve all these, we need to unite as women in the Department of Defence, the broader public sector as well as the private sector.

“We need to be patriotic to what the SANDF stands for. We need to continually sensitise both men and women in uniform on issues of gender-based violence and its consequences. As women of South Africa, and the military community, let us not rest until we see this country free from all forms of inequalities and gender-based violence,” Major General Mothlabane said.

She said there is a need to ensure that policies and processes are in place to support transformation of the Department of Defence and to ensure that they are implemented effectively.

The promotion of gender equality is one of the key elements of the SANDF transformation agenda, she said.

In celebration of Women’s Month, the SANDF celebrated all women in uniform.

The SANDF said South Africans enjoy peace and stability, largely due to the contribution by the defence force women, together with their male counterparts who are constantly deployed across the African continent on various missions including peacekeeping, peace support, peace enforcement and capacity building.

According to Major General Mothlabane, today’s parade demonstrated commitment that women participate in all spheres and that they are actively involved in the provision of peace and security.

“Our women are deployed in critical posts in both external and internal deployments and their performance has reported as excelling and worthy of the deployment.

“The Department of Defence remains resolute in promoting gender equality, women’s rights as human’s rights and women empowerment in all spheres of life,” she said.

Currently the deployment of women in peacekeeping missions in the DRC has increased to 232, of which 158 are utilised in the sharp end. – SAnews.gov.za