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08 March 2018


Hospersa joins the international community in celebrating International Women’s Day and has called for the Minister of Women in the Presidency, Bathabile Dlamini, to be removed from office for her role in the social grants payment saga.  The Union has called for credible women leaders to be appointed in such key positions if progress is to be made in addressing gender equality in the country.

On 8 March 2018, the international community celebrates International Women’s Day.  This annual day looks to highlight issues faced by women and this year’s theme is “press for progress” in gender parity.  The 2018 theme calls to working colleagues, friends and communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.  In South Africa, women inclusivity is still a long way from being achieved as the country faces many challenges, which include increasing levels of gender-based violence against women and children.  The recent South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) debacle has also cast fears on the payment of social grants to the many women and children that depend on it for the livelihoods.

“Hospersa celebrates International Women’s Day and the role women play in communities and various workplaces,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines.  “As a trade union with many women members, we advocate for gender equality in the workplace and communities as a whole.  We applaud and recognize the important role played by women leaders in advancing women’s rights,” says Desfontaines.

In South Africa, the department tasked with addressing women’s issues is the Department of Women.  The department’s mandate is to champion the advancement of women’s socio-economic empowerment and the promotion of gender equality.  However, at the helm of this department is Minister Bathabile Dlamini, a controversial figure that has been heavily criticised for her role in the handling of social grants payments while she was the Minister of Social Development.  In 2012, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) contracted Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) for grant payments on government’s behalf however the contract was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court the following year.  SASSA informed the Constitutional Court that it would not award a new contract but would instead take over the grant payment from 1 April 2017.

Under Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s leadership, the take over of the contract by government has still not been implemented.  Instead earlier this week, SASSA has again gone back to the Constitutional Court to request an extension.  The Constitutional Court reserved judgment in the application while Minister Bathabile Dlamini has since been moved to a new portfolio against the public’s expectations where it was expected she would be removed from Cabinet.

“The recent cabinet reshuffle announced by the new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa saw many ministers lose their jobs, especially those with corruption and maladministration allegations hanging over their heads,” said Desfontaines.  “It is extraordinary that Minister Dlamini, who has a proven poor track record, has been given another important portfolio in the new administration.  Her actions in her previous portfolio are inexcusable and have put the payment of social grants to millions of women and children in jeopardy,” added Desfontaines.

“The other challenge faced by women in South Africa is the escalating levels of gender-based violence.  According to the South African Demographic and Health Survey 2016 Key Indicators Report released on 15 May 2017 by Statistics South Africa, one in every five South African women older than 18 years has experienced physical violence, and 8% report that they experienced physical violence in the past 12 months.  The recent crime statistics released by the South African Police Services (SAPS) state that there has been nearly 50 thousand cases of sexual offence reported from July 2016 to June 2017,” added Desfontaines.

“Minister Dlamini has underperformed and it is only a matter of time before she brings more controversy to her new portfolio.  We call on President Ramaphosa to remove her from cabinet and to replace her with a credible leader that will advance women issues and stimulate new confidence in the fight for gender equality in the country,” concluded Desfontaines.



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For interviews please contact Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines – 083-321-4427.

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