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Gender Commission mourns the passing away of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

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Press Release For Immediate release: 02 April 2018 To: Editors, Producers and Reporters

Today South Africans and rest of the world received the sad news of Mama Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s passing. The former struggle stalwart and heroine of the liberation struggle passed away at Milpark Hospital after a long illness. The Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Ms Lulama Nare on behalf of the Commission sends her heartfelt condolences to the Madikizela-Mandela family, the African National Congress (ANC), relatives and her comrades.

Angela Davis perfectly sums Mama Madikizela-Mandela when she said: “Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary’s life. When one commits oneself to the struggle. It must be for a lifetime”. Mama Madikizela-Mandela despite banishment, isolation and constant harassment from the apartheid regime fought gallantly for the liberation of the people of this country until her passing away. In an endeavour to build a society that is free from all forms of oppression, least we forgot that Mama Madikizela-Mandela championed for a non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society in South Africa.

“Mama Madikizela-Mandela was always found amongst the poor and ordinary women in protests and was equally courageous in demanding for change in the lives of the poor and vulnerable in informal settlements and townships. She cared about the daily struggles of women. She was a torchbearer for free speech in advancing for programmes geared for women empowerment,” Said Lulama Nare the Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality.

“Despite so much violation to your inalienable rights at the hands of the Apartheid regime we are indebted to your bravery and your indominable spirit that we have a progressive bill of rights that women and all in our country now enjoy”, Nare added

Rest in Peace! Robala ka khotso! Lala ngo Xolo, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela!

ENDS Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date: 02 April 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306

The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

The Gender Commission meets with Top Bet Company over the reported violation of its women employees

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Media Release For Immediate Release: 08 March 2018 To:  Editors, Producers and Reporters The Gender Commission meets with Top Bet Company over the reported violation of its women employees 

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) wishes to report that it held a meeting in line with Section 11 (e) of the CGE Act 39 of 1996. The purpose of this meeting was further given impetus by the huge public outcry on the violation of female employees of Top Bet.

Through the interaction between the CGE and owners of the company it was ascertained that the manager involved in the misconduct has since been relieved of her duties as a result of the illegal “strip search”. It is in this spirit that the CGE welcomes the decision taken by the company in light of the gravity of the actions taken by the former manager in this regard.

The company has since agreed that the actions by the former manager were unwarranted and further emphasized  that it was against company policy for any manager employed with the company to undertake such practice. In essence, the company agrees that what had occurred in the “strip search” procedure was inappropriate and thus served as a violation of women’s rights.

“Having noted that the violation was instituted by a female manager onto other female staff members brings about an interesting dynamic to intra-gender conflict which found space in the working environment of the company and this is a matter that we would need to pay attention to in other spheres of our work as the Gender Commission. We are pleased that all those women who were victims of this incident are now receiving trauma counselling at the cost of the employer”, said Chairperson of the CGE, Ms. Lulama Nare.

The CGE has given extensive advise to the company in relation to strengthening its gender related policies and practices, but more importantly, the company has agreed to take further steps to ensure that its human resources department becomes more proactive in the future in an effort to ensure that such practices cease to exist. It is in this context that the company has made a commitment to ensure that health and safety standards are factored into their policies for the purpose of protecting women employees. The latter will be accompanied by culture and gender sensitivity awareness within the company.

The CGE is satisfied about the fact that the company has made a commitment to protect the complainant who blew the whistle on the matter.  To this end, the company will be sending an action plan (to the Gender Commission) on the remedial action to be taken in the short and long term periods.

The CGE will be closely monitoring the company in relation to commitments pertaining to the remedial action.

    ENDS, Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date:   08 March 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

CGE calls for action in accelerating gender parity and women empowerment #PressforProgress

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Media Release For Immediate Release: 08 March 2018 To:  Editors, Producers and Reporters   CGE calls for action in accelerating gender parity and women empowerment #PressforProgress   08 March the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD). International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. IWD is also an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realise their full potential.   The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is particularly pleased that this year’s theme pays a special attention to rural women too. Often times these are the most marginalized people.  When institutions and people talk about empowerment and development, rural women are forgotten, yet they play a pivotal role in ensuring that the activism and voices are counted and heard when it mattered the most.   The theme as proclaimed by UN Women is "Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives". And also echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), International Women's Day will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over a quarter of the world population, and are being left behind in every measure of development.   This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice #Metoo movement.  Sexual harassment, violence, human rights violation and discrimination against women has captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change. Rural women till the lands and plant seeds to feed nations, ensure food security for their communities and build climate resilience. Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of deep seated gender inequalities and discrimination, they fare worse than rural men or urban women.   In the year of Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, the CGE is making a clarion call that the #PressforProgress for rural women, gender parity and women empowerment should be accelerated. In so doing all the endeavours towards this call will be honouring all the heroines and unsung heroines of the women struggle.   Guided by the legal prescripts, Section 187 of the South African Constitution, the CGE Act 39 of 1996 as amended, the Commission will rollout outreach and legal clinics throughout the country to educate the public particularly rural women on empowerment and development and also receive complaints in relation to the violation of gender rights The CGE encourages the public to utilize the Toll- free Number 0800 007 709 to report matters that relates to violations of gender rights     ENDS, Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date:   08 March 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

CGE investigates allegation (s) of Sexual Harassment and Human Rights Violation

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Media Release For Immediate Release: 07 March 2018 To: Editors, Producers and Reporters CGE investigates allegation (s) of Sexual Harassment and Human Rights Violation   The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has noted with concern media reports alleging sexual harassment and human rights violation at Topbets SA (PTY) in Germiston. As empowered by Section 187 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the CGE Act 39 0f 1996, as amended, Section 11 (1) (e) the Commission shall investigate any gender -related issues of its own accord or receipt of a complaint, and shall endeavour to resolve any dispute or rectify any act or omission by mediation, conciliation or negotiation. It is against this backdrop that the Commission would investigate the matter, as alleged. The CGE commends the media for its continuous coverage of women and gender rights violation issues. The CGE will welcome extensive reports or evidence that may help strengthen this investigation, particularly women workers affected by the alleged sexual harassment and human rights violation, to phone our Toll-Free Number 0800 007 709 or alternatively our Head Office at 011 403 7182.   ENDS, Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date: 07 March 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality

CGE wishes Mama Rebecca Kotane Happy Birthday

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Media Release For Immediate Release: 11 February 2018 To: Editors, Producers and Reporters   CGE wishes Mama Rebecca Kotane Happy Birthday   The Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), Ms Lulama Nare on behalf of the Commission wishes Mama Rebecca Kotane “Happy Birthday. Whilst, we celebrate the birth of this heroine, the Commission calls upon all South Africans to remember her ideals and principles, such as freedom, equality and human rights for all.   As proclaimed by the Government of the Republic of South Africa, 2018 is the centenary of Mrs Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu. As part of these festivities to mark her centenary, the Commission will be embarking on various activities to highlight the work dedicated by women in the liberation struggle and towards the attainment of gender equality. The Commission will be celebrating both the heroes and unsung of the women liberation struggle in the country.   On Monday the 12 February 2018, the Commission led by its Chairperson Ms Nare will be paying homage to Mama Kotane in Diepkloof, Soweto to wish her Happy Birthday in person. On behalf of the Commission for Gender Equality, we wish Mama Rebecca Kotane good health and many more happy returns   Mini emnandi kuwe! O hole o Kgokgobe! U kula u kula u ringana na Ndlopfu! Sikufisela usuku oluhle lokuzalwula! O gole o gole dingwaga di ate o gole! Ri khou vha tamela Mashudu kha duvha la mabebo avho! Geseënde Versdag Tata Mandela!   ENDS, Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date: 11 February 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

Gender Commission shocked at the merciless beating of a woman protestor

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Media Release For immediate Release: 05 February 2018 To: Editors, Producers and Reporters   Gender Commission shocked at the merciless beating of a woman protestor The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is shocked at the merciless beating of a helpless woman protestor at today’s march at Luthuli House.  In a video that has gone viral a woman is seen being brutally beaten by a man wearing an African National Congress (ANC) t-shirt. The Commission is also shocked that nobody came to the assistance of a powerless and helpless woman who was being assaulted even whilst lying on the ground. The CGE is equally worried that there was lack of police action to either stop the beating or apprehend the perpetrator of this heinous crime. The beating clearly shows we are a society that has normalized violence against the most vulnerable people of our society in this case a defenceless woman. In the year 2016 alone, a staggering 182 933 cases of assault were reported. The CGE calls upon the South African Police Services (SAPS) to speedily arrest the perpetrator of such cruelty. We are also appealing to the African National Congress (ANC) to identify the culprit and if he belongs to their movement he must also be dealt with through their internal processes. It will therefore clearly show that the ANC does not condone gender based violence and members who act in the manner in which the one in the video did will be dealt with harshly. We urge members of the public who have knowledge of and information on acts of gender based violence and abuse to call our Toll-Free Number 0800 007 709 to report such cases. ENDS,   Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date: 05 February 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

Gender Commission Calls for Openness and Transparency in the MCSA Sexual Harassment inquiry

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Media Release   For immediate Release: 01 February 2018   To: Editors, Producers and Reporters     Gender Commission Calls for Openness and Transparency in the MCSA Sexual Harassment inquiry The Commission for Gender Commission (CGE) has witnessed with shock, videos of two young women doing rounds in the social media protesting against a Steward who was making announcements at the Methodist Church of South Africa (MCSA) Central Pretoria. According to media reports and interviews conducted by the leaders of the church, the two young women were agitated against the church for not taking action against the very Steward after having reported him for sexual harassment with the MCSA leadership in Central Pretoria.   The inaction of the MCSA leadership prompted the two young women to conduct a silent protest inside the church whilst the announcements were being made by the Steward who is the alleged perpetrator. The Commission condemns how the church handled the complaint of sexual harassment against the Steward. Whilst, we applaud the church for having a sexual harassment policy, the Commission has come to a realisation that in an endeavour to address the matter the church also disregarded their own policy on sexual harassment and processes.   It is therefore against this backdrop that the CGE is calling for openness and transparency in the matter. This will afford all the processes to stand public scrutiny, thus ensuring that the two young women are not subjected to further victimisation and trauma as has been the case. The church is supposed to be a sacred place of worship and should serve as a sanctuary to communities. However, of late we note that churches are increasingly besieged with sexual harassment allegations. The inquiry that the church is advancing would help restore faith in humanity, that the church can lead the fight against gender based image.   Last year, the Commission gave a message of support to the National Religious Leadership Council (NRLC) that was calling both Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Government to work together with the church to help root out gender based violence and other related atrocities within the church. The clarion call by the NRLC was an acknowledgement that the church is not immune to harbouring sexual predators, hence the Commission’s call for openness and transparency     The Commission is also calling for MCSA to report the Steward to the police for the law to take its course, whilst they conduct their own internal processes.  The MCSA in an endeavour for openness and transparency must remove the Steward from their leadership hierarchy as his continued presence can hamper investigation. The Commission will be monitoring the case to ensure that justice for both the alleged perpetrator and the victims is served. We urge members of the public who have knowledge of and information on acts of gender based violence and abuse to call our Toll-Free Number 0800 007 709 to report such cases.   ENDS,   Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date: 01 February 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

CGE welcomes the arrest in the abduction and human trafficking of a 14-year-old

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Press Release   For Immediate Release: 23 January 2018   To: Editors and Reporters   CGE welcomes the arrest in the abduction and human trafficking of a 14-year-old   The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) welcomes the arrest of 9 people on charges of abduction and human trafficking of a 14-year-old in Idutywa, Eastern Cape. The abducted girl was forced into underage and unlawful marriage. The Commission through its work has ensured that the perpetrators of this heinous crime were arrested and have appeared at the Idutywa Magistrate Court, today.   “In line with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the CGE respects cultural freedom and choice. However, the abuse of cultural practices and symbols at the expense of women and girl children is totally condemned,” said Ms. Lulama Nare, the Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality. It is important for South Africans to note that no cultural and religious practices supersede the Constitution and cultural and religious practices should conform and be practiced within the ambit of the constitutional values and ethos.   The Commission is calling on the citizenry not to be complacent when it comes to the abduction and marriages of underage girls. The CGE has been vociferous in calling for an end to underage marriages. As reported by Statistics South Africa, 91 000 00 underage girls are abducted every year. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this scourge. It is also equally worrying that Eastern Cape in the same report is rated third behind KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng when it comes to underage marriages. It is therefore incumbent upon us all to be vigilant and work closely with the South African Police Services (SAPS), NPA, the HAWKS and other likeminded institutions in ending this scourge.   Underage marriages are not only a women rights violation and harmful traditional practice but also, they rob these girls of education and their dignity. Of greater concern is that they are sexually groomed at best or at worst raped by their abductors.                       The Commission calls on South African men and families to distance themselves from this culture of forcing underage girls into forced marriages. The CGE believes that this arrest is a reinforcement of Constitutional values and principles, in accordance with international and regional treaties on gender equality.   The Commission for Gender Commission will be monitoring this case and if called upon will gladly avail itself to make a presentation on the matter.   The Commission is also cognizant that the are many more cases of this nature throughout the country going unreported due to many factors. We implore families and communities not to break the laws that prohibit underage forced marriages. The marriages of underage girls are crimes categorized under trafficking of persons, abduction and rape. These are serious crimes punishable by the law that are being committed against our girls. Please use Toll-Free Number 0800 007 709 to report cases of underage forced marriages or any gender related violence.   Date:   23 January 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 187 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

Gender Commission welcomes the SCA School Fees easing on single parents

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Media Release   For immediate Release: 22 January 2018   To: Editors, Producers and Reporters     Gender Commission welcomes the SCA School Fees easing on single parents  The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) welcomes the landmark decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that will see relief provided to thousands of single parents in public schools. This is against of the backdrop of the Western Cape High Court’s judgement that the South African Schools Act hold parents jointly liable for the payment of school fees. The judgement from the Western Cape High Court was placing the burden on single parents who have separated or divorced from their partners. In cases where these partners did not contribute, it became very difficult for single parents to afford paying the school fees.   The Commission believes the effort of Michelle Saffer is not only commendable in challenging the Western Cape High Court judgement, it is equally a welcoming news to those that are in the same predicament of not affording school fees due to their separated or divorced partners not contributing. Women are in majority in bearing the brunt of having difficulty in paying school due to their socio-economic conditions.   It is therefore critical that this declaratory order by the SCA that confirms that Section 40 (1) of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996, provides for joint and several liabilities of parents, fee exemption applications can be processed in terms of the Act and the Regulations to enable single parents separated from their partners or divorced to have their applications assessed in relation to their own personal circumstances not on combined income.   The CGE believes this will go a long way to alleviate the plight in particularly of women who are at most at the receiving end of this lack of support from separated or divorced partners. Underpinned by difficulty in accessing maintenance money which could be tedious and overbearing, the Commission believes this judgement will be a welcome relief for single parents if implemented effectively.     The Commission is calling on the Department of Basic Education, Provincial Departments of Education, District Officials and School Principals to ensure that the SCA judgement is implemented. Due respect and consideration should be given to those who ask for exemption. This judgement will affirm the rights of both male and female single parents in ensuring that they provide for the education of their children without having to seek assistance directly from their separated or divorced partners.   The Commission believes that the lack of implementation of the South African Schools Act not only affects gender equality but women who at best do not know where their ex-partners work, let alone the addresses where they live. If this judgement is effectively implemented it will help restore the dignity of many women who are constantly asked about their partners’ whereabout in situations wherein they cannot afford to pay school fees.   The Commission for Gender Equality Act 39 of 1996 Section (11) 1 gives the Commission powers to monitor and evaluate policies and practices of organs of state at any level, organs of state at any level, statutory bodies or functionaries, public bodies and authorities and private businesses, enterprises and institutions in order to promote gender equality and may make any recommendations that the omission deems necessary. It is therefore critical that the CGE monitors the effective implementation of the judgement in ensuring that women in particular are less dehumanized by those that refuse to do right by them. The CGE will ensure as mandate by the CGE Act take necessary steps to ensure compliance with the law.   Ends, Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date:  22 January 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.  

Gender Commission condemns the alleged incident of assault by PE Doctor

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Media Release For immediate Release: 17 January 2018 To: Editors, Producers and Reporters    Gender Commission condemns the alleged incident of assault by PE Doctor   The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has noted with dismay media reports indicating that a well-known Port Elizabeth (PE) Medical Doctor, Mfundo Mabenge has allegedly assaulted Abongile Bulo, a 16-year-old teenager at a church function.   The Commission categorically condemns all forms of gender violence. The Commission is extremely disappointed that someone whom society revere due to the nature of his profession and supposed to be exemplary has allegedly done something that is very unfortunate and unwarranted. The Commission is calling on Dr. Mabenge to unequivocal apologise to the Abongile, the church and the country, if the allegations against him are true. The CGE is also calling on the church that he belongs to, to suspend him with immediate effect from all duties pending the outcome of the investigation in the matter.   This is reprehensible and inexcusable especially coming after the backdrop of the 16 days of Activism of No Violence against women and children wherein the Commission and like-minded institutions were focussing on greater efforts in ending violence Against Women and Children.   The CGE believes the church based on the severity of allegations in a country where rampant abuse of women and children has reached alarming proportion will act with speed to ensure that justice is served for Abongile and other women who have been victims of gender based violence throughout the country. The Commission will be monitoring the case to ensure that justice for both the alleged perpetrator and the victim is served. We urge members of the public who have knowledge of and information on acts of gender based violence and abuse to call our Toll-Free Number 0800 007 709 to report such cases. ENDS,   Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Date:   17 January 2018 Contact Person: Javu Baloyi Tel: 083 579 3306 The Commission for Gender Equality The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.