Support each other, women urged

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Gauteng MEC for local government Qedani Mahlangu has expressed concern at the low numbers of women financial officers in local government.

Addressing women delegates in Durban yesterday during the Women in Local Government conference, Mahlangu said that in the 284 municipalities around the country, less than 10 of them had women chief financial officers (CFOs).

"It is shocking that you can actually count the number of women CFOs, even at municipalities where mayors and speakers are women. This says a lot about us women and we need to do something about it," said Mahlangu.

She said this was one of many challenges women in local government still faced.

"We need to increase the numbers of women in technical areas like accounting. If capable people don't want to work for local government because it is not financially attractive, then let's make it attractive.

"Let's pay people for performance. The private sector recruits the best people because local government can't match the salaries," she said.

Mahlangu said one of the major challenges facing women was that they did not support each other, instead go out of their way to destroy one another.

In most cases women councillors were criticised by other women, which usually led to their failure.

"The fact that our government is pushing for a 50-50 representation will remain a dream if women don't work together. We have so far moved from a twopercent base to 40percent in local government, but this is still not enough," she said.

Phatekile Holomisa, chairman of the Congress of Traditional Leaders challenged women in rural areas to avail themselves for election as part of the tribal authorities.

This would enable them to contribute meaningfully to the development of their areas.

"Legislation stipulates that 30percent of tribal authority councillors should be women, but that is not the case because women are still prevented by custom from being part of the highest decision-making bodies in tribal land," Holomisa said.