The government will set aside 40% of public procurement for businesses owned by women. President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement in his virtual Women’s Day address on Sunday.
He says the reality for millions of South African women is at odds with the promises contained in the Constitution. President defends that to help women, they need to be empowered, adding that the opportunity exists to build a country where women’s rights are not negotiable.
One way to deal with the vulnerability and scourge women and children face is to enable women to become financially independent, Ramaphosa explains.
“The first action is to expand the access of women to economic opportunities. We will do this, amongst other things, by setting aside up to 40% public procurement for women-owned businesses. We now expect national departments in government to monitor and report on how many women have participated in each public procurement process. They will have to develop clear plans about how they will broaden women’s participation over the next 12 months.”
President announces financial boost for women:
South Africa commemorates the 64th anniversary of the march to the Union Buildings when women took a historic stand against the unjust apartheid system. But 26 years since the dawn of democracy, another scourge persists – gender-based-violence.
Ramaphosa has described the sad state of affairs regarding Gender-Based Violence, saying the country is in the grip of two pandemics: COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence.
“Evermore, women and children are being abused and losing their lives at the hands of men. it cannot be that this Women’s Day is drenched in the tears of families who have lost their sisters, their daughters and mothers to violence that is perpetrated by South African men. We can no longer, as a nation, ignore the deafening cries of women and children for protection, for help and for justice”
He says significant progress has been made supporting survivors, from increasing the number of shelters and care centres to improving the capacity of police to deal with the scourge.
Ramaphosa also spoke of the need to give women greater access to productive assets such as land to ensure their economic inclusion.
In the video below, women must be given greater access to productive assets such as land:
He says government will engage the financial sector to make funding affordable and accessible to small and micro businesses, as well as those in the informal sector.
It will also ensure that the land reform process favours all historically-disadvantaged people including women.
“Of the R75 million in COVID relief earmarked for farming input vouchers, 53% will be for rural women. We must ensure that women subsistence and small-scale farmers continue to receive support beyond the lockdown that we are going through now at the same time, we will be calling on the African Union member states to put policies in place to increase women’s ownership of land to 30%.”
The President says South Africa has joined Generation Equality – a global campaign to achieve gender equality by 2030. The country will be part of coalitions focused on economic justice and rights, and Gender-Based Violence and femicide.
He says the campaign will give the country an opportunity to find solutions from across the world to gender inequality.
In the video below, Women’s Day 2020 address by President Cyril Ramaphosa: