For Immediate Release: 14 May 2019
To: Editors, Producers and Reporters
Disregard of its own internal policy by the ANC on the appointment of Premiers concerning
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has noted with disappointment the African National Congress (ANC) statement on the appointment of five male premiers in the 7 provinces that they have won following the 08 May 2019 National and Provincial elections. The ANC has indicated that it used gender parity as a criterion and the Commission had anticipated that 50/50 representation where the party governs would be reached. These appointments are clearly a step backwards in the fight for gender equality and 50/50 balance in political representation between men and women in this year’s elections.
On the 27 February 2019, the Commission for Gender Equality held a National Political Party Consultative Conference on Women’s Participation and Representation in the 2019 National/Provincial Elections, the ANC was one of the parties that was present and assured those in attendance about its internal policy that will guide the party in ensuring that gender parity is adhered to. The CGE believes that the ANC’s announcement on Monday is therefore a deviation from its commitment to promote 50/50 gender representation in the appointment of Provincial Premiers.
It is the CGE’s considered view that this decision is a regressive move in terms of the challenge of promoting gender equality in South African politics, especially at the highest levels of decision making in government. The post of Provincial Premier is of critical importance, not merely for reasons of political symbolism, but also because it is the highest political office at the second tier of government in South Africa. Just as the President of the Republic is the top national policy maker with constitutionally entrenched legislative and political powers, the post of Provincial Premier bears constitutional responsibility to lead the province in the implementation of policies and legislative programmes, including those that seek to promote gender equality.
It is for this reason that the CGE believes the appointment of mainly male Premiers is a significant step in the wrong direction. Having made commitment to various international and regional conventions, protocols, treaties that seek to ensure that South Africa attains gender equality and parity, these appointments do not indicate that the country is abiding to instruments it ratified. While the CGE acknowledges the commitment of the ruling party to balance this reduction in the number of female Premiers by appointing female Speakers at the Provincial Legislatures, regardless of the Premier being male or female, is hardly an equivalent substitute or trade-off. The post of Speaker at the Provincial Legislature although important, does not bear the same constitutional, legislative and political authority as that of Provincial Premier.
The CGE would therefore like to call upon the ruling party to re-consider its decision, as this decision has not been implemented and also to state categorically that the application of the 50/50 principle of gender parity and representation of men and women in the appointment of Provincial Premiers and other senior level office bearers is a non-negotiable political principle. If the present status quo remains, then the Commission advocates that the Premier of the North West Province must be female.
Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
Date: 14 May 2019
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.
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