Doubts on new ministry

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

The announcement of the ministry which is aimed at giving special attention to the needs of women, youth, children and people with disabilities has received a lukewarm reaction from gender organisations.

Colleen Lowe Morna, executive director of Gender Links, told Sowetan yesterday that these were three "totally different issues" that needed to be tackled differently.

"The fact of the matter is that women are adults that need to be empowered and claim their rights as equal citizens - while children are dependents of both women and men and need to be cared for and protected differently."

Lowe Morna also said the organisation was "worried" about the removal of gender issues from the presidency.

"Gender is a cross-cutting issue and needs to be located well within government in a cross-cutting function. Location is very important. I would have preferred to see the office being strengthened by having the minister responsible for the advancement of women being located in the presidency."

She welcomed the appointment of Minister Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, saying that the minister came with strong views on gender equity.

Carrie Shelver, programmes co-ordinator at People Opposing Women Abuse, said while the Women, Youth, Children, and People with Disabilities ministry did not come as a surprise, the consultation process had not been followed.

Lisa Vetten, policy analyst at Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to End Violence Against Women, said the organisation was still in the dark about the ministry's mandate.

"Our concern is that women ministries have not been successful anywhere in the world."

Announcing the new Cabinet, President Jacob Zuma said the Women ministry was to ensure the economic development of women and accelerate gender parity.