Female councillors in Joburg Council have agreed that, when it comes to the issues affecting women in and outside Council, such as femicide, women issues must prevail over party allegiance.
The councillors from different political parties pledged unanimously to unite behind women issues in Council instead of being divided by partly loyalty.
“As women, we must take off our political-hats, to unite against the marginalization of women. We must invite men to partner with us to fight this growing problem,” said Gauteng Legislature’s Jamela Robertson.
Robertson was addressing close to 50 female councillors at the recent Multi-Party Women’s Caucus Strategic Planning Workshop in Braamfontein.
She said the Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature had mandated her to assist municipalities in the province to establish or resuscitate their own multi-party women caucuses, which are similar to the Gauteng Multi-Party Women’s Caucus. The structure should champion women issues and influence Council.
The Chairperson of Section 79 for GEYODI, Cllr Nazley Khan Sharif, pleaded with women to support each other in Council on women issues.
“We have to work together as women, irrespective of our political affiliations. We need to have each other’s back as women. Society wants to keep women apart because it knows we are a powerful force when we unite,” said Cllr Sharif.
Cllr Sharif argued that for the City’s multi-party women caucus to be revived, it will need to be given enough resources, sufficient budget and power to implement programmes, as opposed to a structure that just monitors.
According to research presented by the City’s Senior Researcher Kebitsamang Mtunzi, women across the globe in parliaments, councils and institutions of power were still a minority and living under the shadow of patriarchy.
“The women councillors in the City of Joburg account for 39% of the total councillors in Council, which means that out of 270 councillors, 100 are women. It is therefore imperial for the Speaker of Council to launch the women caucus as a mechanism to strengthen cooperation among women engaged in political life,” said Mtunzi.