Buffalo City hosts 2018 SALGA Women’s Commission

The summit held at the East London Convention Centre (EL ICC) on Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 August. The theme for the summit is Working together to promote gender equality, sustainable development and good governance and celebrating 100 Years of Albertina Sisulu. Woman of fortitude: Women united in moving South Africa Forward. Speaking about the purpose of the day SWC, Executive Director for Community Development Miriam Lehlokoa said, “The purpose of the summit seeks to find a common understanding on the roles and functions of women structures operating in Local Government.” She added that the Commission’s mandate is established to coordinate, promote and advocate for gender appropriate strategies and practices within member and feed into regional and continental processes. Day one kicked off on a high note where overviews and reflections were discussed. Also as part of the day one programme governance and operational matters was part of the topics Day two saw the emphasis of the 50/50 structure where women will also be seen as equal to men. SWC National Chairperson Councillor Sindiswa Gomba highlighted under the Planned Interventions the addressing of: • Non-adherence to equal gender representation (50/50) in leadership and decision making positions. The structures of local government do not adequately reflect the number of women in decision structures. • Inadequate policies and mechanisms to create an enabling work environment for women • Improve reporting, monitoring and evaluation of the work of the SWC (lack of desegregated data on how different projects and programmes accommodate and address women empowerment as well as gender equality matters). Giving an overview of the summit and its objectives and expected outcomes of the Lehlokoa emphasised that the summit aims to formulate a pathway towards women empowerment and gender mainstreaming. “Moreover, we also want to reflect on the gaps, opportunities and challenges in the implementation of programmes for gender equality and equity in local government.” Lastly, she added, “We are here to formulate the SWC Program as the roadmap to lead and champion women empowerment and gender mainstreaming in local government level.” The expected outcomes of the summit include, prioritised key issues towards women empowerment and gender mainstreaming in local government. Women in local government geared to deliver on a clear agenda for women empowerment and gender mainstreaming. Parallel sessions of the summit saw the formulating of strategies, solutions and actions for change, these included topics such as, legislation review, participation of women in leadership and decision making positions, gender mainstreaming in local government and lastly strengthening women and gender structures in local government. Day two of the summit ended off with a cultural dinner and entertainment with traditional attires which took place at the East London City Hall. The last day of the summit which is day three will see a report back from Commissions and the Programme Director of the session will be Gauteng Province Provincial Chairperson Parks Tau. The final remarks on Commitment by SALGA will be done by SALGA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Xolile George.