KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has urged leaders to ensure that women’s rights are respected by all. Speaking at the virtual launch of Women’s Month in the province, the Premier paid tribute to women leaders, including the late Victoria Mxenge, who was killed in 1985 in Umlazi, south of Durban.

“We want to affirm that Africa is not yet liberated up until all women of Africa enjoy full equality and enjoy human rights like all over the world.”

This year’s theme is “Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”.

The launch of Women’s Month in South Africa this year comes under the dark cloud of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.  Zikalala urged all men to ensure that women’s rights are respected.

“Those of us who are in the struggle should make it their daily commitment to educate everyone about the need to respect the rights of women, about women emancipation in our homes, at work,  in sports fraternity,  in the church in traditional leadership institutions, in government,  in the economic sphere. We should ensure that women are liberated and women’s rights are respected.”

He also encouraged men to stand up to put a stop to gender-based violence in their communities.

“South African women face the added threat and experience of being abused and murdered by men and often men that they know and are their intimate partners and sadly so COVID-19 has also compounded the problem faced by women, as research indicates a rise in domestic violence, sexual abuse, and depression among women and therefore it is us who must fight and uproot this very bad tendency which is a threat to our lives and the society.”

The video below gives the breakdown of gender-based violence stats since lockdown: 

National launch of Women’s Month

Speaking at the national launch of Women’s Month on Thursday, Minister Bheki Cele urged all South Africans to unite against gender-based violence:

He says the provincial government has allocated a certain percentage of business to women-owned and led enterprises.

“Our provincial government continues to ensure that we view the issue of gender equality in totality. We are implementing all of these programs as our commitment to ensure that we realise equality in South Africa. We have targeted 30% set aside for women-owned enterprises in all departments when it comes to the allocation of contracts and tenders, we are saying in that we should also cater for young women and women entrepreneurs.”

The month of August will carry a series of campaigns putting the spotlight on the daily struggles and victories women from all walks of life face and overcome.