South Africa had made great strides in eradicating gender discrimination by creating mechanisms for women empowerment, says Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo.
“Indeed great strides have been made in women’s emancipation in our country, but much more has yet to be achieved. “As a result of our reimagining of women and their place in society not being limited to the kitchen, we have a ruling party with an official policy of 50/50 gender parity in all its structures.
“Today, we have the South African Parliament ranked in the top 10 legislatures with the highest number of women representation; around 43% of all Members of Parliament in South African are women. Cabinet is balanced 50/50 between women and men who are Ministers, meanwhile a woman Minister, Deputy Minister, leads our very own department and Director-General, which would have been unimaginable in past years,” she said.
The Minister was speaking at the women’s leadership webinar to wrap up Women’s Month hosted by the DPSA in partnership with the Director-General in the Presidency on Monday.
The Minister also asked how a country like South Africa that has made remarkable progress in the emancipation of women, is yet the same country where women are most unsafe.
Her message to women in the public service space is that “you are all those things because you are human and humans are complex beings… women are, as any other human being, capable of being complex, of being more than just one thing, women don’t have to fit neatly and perfectly into a box so that a patriarchal society can be able to understand and box them.”
“Women owe no one perfection, they can make mistakes and they can also sometimes get things wrong, that’s absolutely fine, to err is human.”
Director-General in the Presidency, Ms Phindile Baleni encouraged women in leadership position in the public service to request instructions in writing in order to end wrongdoing in the workplace.
She emphasised that it was important to be guided by the Code of Conduct with regard to what is expected of them from an ethical point of view.
“I know it’s easier said than done, but in this country we now have people who demonstrated that they would rather take the price of being without a job… being unemployable for 20 years like Themba Maseko (former GCIS, CEO) who was not going to take an instruction that wasn’t ethical,” she said.
Asked about her views following the revelations of how corruption ravaged government at the Zondo Commission, Ms Baleni said: “my view is that we should have been very vigilant, but what we need to do now is to have systems in place that must prevent corruption from happening.”
With her more than twenty years’ experience in the public service, she is totally against the undermining of women in the workplace.
“I don’t believe in the notion of women arriving and sitting against the wall…I always invite women to join everyone on the table. I enjoy creating opportunities for women to air their views,” she said.
According to Ms Baleni, there is a need to revive the promotion of exemplary conduct in the public service space of putting people first in the public service space.
She further indicated that a culture needs to be created in the public service, where public servants will be driven by the values of serving the public in an unbiased and impartial manner.
DPSA Director-General Makhasi said: “we have not yet reached our target. We are at 47%. We should go beyond the target at DPSA and public service broadly. It is issues that we are looking at, interview panel are put together in the organisation…in a number of occasion. We have decided to do affirmative action policy, so that we are not only able to make a target but also give women an opportunity.”