Speech by the acting Honourable MEC for Roads and Public Works, Mr Mxolisi Sokatsha, on the occasion of the 2010 Northern Cape Women in Construction Awards. Kimberley, Frances Baard District – Northern Cape
12 Aug 2010
Speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
Deputy-Speaker of Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Members of the Executive Council
The Chairperson and Members of the Provincial Portfolio Committee on Safety, Transport, Roads and Public Works
Executive mayors, mayors and counsellors
Heads of departments and senior management
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Good evening to you all on behalf of the Northern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). We are gathered here this evening to demonstrate our government’s commitment to create and implement initiatives for women empowerment as well as acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of our women contractors in the Northern Cape.
Women are the most vulnerable group that requires programmatic intervention from the current government, hence in 2009 the department initiated the formation of SANWIT here in the very same venue. Women empowerment is a slow process that started during the 1st World Conference on Women in Mexico in 1975. The Mexico City Conference was called by the United Nations General Assembly to focus international attention on the need to develop future oriented goals, effective strategies and plans of action for the advancement of women.
To this end, the General Assembly identified three key objectives that would become the basis for the work of the United Nations on behalf of women:
Full gender equality and the elimination of gender discrimination
The integration and full participation of women development
An increased contribution by women on the strengthening of world peace.
This conference called upon governments to formulate national strategies and identify targets and priorities in their efforts to promote the equal participation of women. Subsequent women conferences took place notably amongst them being the Beijing Women Conference in 1995.
Ladies and gentlemen, gender equality and women empowerment are human rights that lie at the heart of development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. As a result of a declaration taken in Mexico City thirty five years ago, the South African Government has made tremendous progress in women empowerment initiatives. Progressive legislation has been passed to action women empowerment as capsulated in Chapter 9, section 187 of the South African Constitution which prescribed the Commission for Gender Equality.
Our intervention as the Northern Cape Provincial Government through the Department of Roads and Public Works is our Contractor Development Programme. This initiative seeks to promote and mentor women contractors to integrate easily into the mainstream of the economy. The CIDB is the vehicle that we used to empower women contractors.
Programme director, currently there are 401 women–owned construction companies across the Northern Cape province. They have a CIDB grade that ranges from 1 to 6. Out of these contractors only two are rated at Grade 6. Surely you will agree with me that a woman must own fifty percent shares in a company to demonstrate ownership.
We are here to commend and honour those ladies as well as to create healthy competition amongst women contractors. I am glad that the nominees are not in the catering industry as this kind of business is saturated by many women. Today you will see real business women emerging to participate in a man dominated industry. These are contractors who have been in operation for more than three years. These are sustainable and profitable women contractors. All those who emerged winners did managed to procure work from the department. As we celebrate women month these awards demonstrate our commitment to women empowerment. Halala to all the nominees and I wish all of them the best in their business initiatives.
Thank you to all the beautiful sisters, mothers and daughters of this province.
Forward with women business, forward!
Source: Northern Cape Provincial Government
Issued by: Northern Cape Roads and Public Works
12 Aug 2010
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