Women who exercise their freedoms and are affiliated to other political parties are side-lined by our government

By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Spokesperson on Women and Children:

The following speech was delivered by DA Spokesperson on Women and Children, Jane Sithole MPL, during a Women’s day debate in the legislature today.

Honourable Speaker.

Women’s day in South Africa marks the remarkable demonstration that took place in 1956.  We dedicate this month to all the heroines of our beautiful country and the rest of the world who stood up and some even surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

This ground breaking protest represented women’s bravery, courage and strength and I stand before you today in honour of those women who have inspired, who have paved the way and has given hope to so many of us.

Hon. Speaker, the sad reality is that in our province, our government food parcels are used for political gain. Women who have exercised their freedoms and are affiliated to other political parties are side-lined by our government and are told in their face “go and ask the DA or EFF to give you food parcels”.

Yet, every year our political leaders stand behind podiums such as this one saying that more needs to be done to empower the women of South Africa and to redress the injustices of our society.

How can this become a reality, when those who are in the front line are increasingly failing to defend these rights, opting rather to look out for themselves. Our’s should be to enhance the freedom of other women and not stifle it for our own selfish reasons or political gain.

Hon. Speaker, it is our duty to promote and protect the fundamental rights of all women, irrespective of their political affiliation.

Hon. Speaker, the sacrifices made by women like Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Ruth First, Rahima Moosa and Sophie Williams to name a few, were geared towards fighting against unjust policies. A massive number of women in our rural areas are victims of economic and social crises that they had no part in creating.

Women form the backbone of our society and majority of single parent headed families are women. Denying them a government food parcel or a government blanket simply because of their political affiliation? It is such actions that makes women’s day just a sham. It is not fair and no amount of rhetoric can justify this.

I thank you.