The newly elected
president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) Women's
League says the ANC-led government has made it possible for South African women
to empower themselves. Angelina Motshekga told VOA what South African women must do now is strengthen institutions like the ANC
Women's League to address remaining barriers such as violence against women,
fighting poverty, and increasing political participation.
the ANC government, there's been complete space created for women. In 1990
hardly 30 percent of women would have been represented in parliament. But as we
speak now under the ANC government, we have more than 48 percent of
parliamentarians being women. So government can do this much in terms of
creating an enabling environment. The challenge is getting women to develop the
necessary capacity to use the space created for them," she said.
said the ANC-led government has put in place gender-friendly laws and that more
women are staying in school than when she was a student.
I went to school, most girls at a certain age dropped out. But under the ANC
government there has been conscious mechanism created to retain women in
school," Motshekga said.
disagreed with Women's League outgoing secretary general Bathabile Dlamini who
has criticized members for using the organization to seek higher government
won't agree with that comment, and I can give you a number for example women in
government. Half of those ministers, they may be members of the ANC but members
of the Women's League were not necessarily leaders of the ANC. Those women
would have risen in their own rights even if they were not members of the
League. So I don't agree with that comment. But I think she's entitled to her
view," Motshekga said.
said even though the ANC-led government is trying in terms of providing
affordable housing for poor South Africans, a lot still was needed to be done.
think a lot of potential things can be done which were not done to address our
housing problem in terms of alternative building materials. But I am aware that
this government within its limitation has done all it could to provide housing.
Women get highest priority because they are most of the time heads of families
or they are the vulnerable ones who would need government's protection. So I
want to admit that yes it's true there's a lot that needs to be done, but also
I want to acknowledge that a lot has been done," Motshekga said.
said the Women's League supports ANC President Jacob Zuma who is trying to
fight off allegations of corruption.
ANC Women's League is an integral part of the ANC, and last year in Polokwane
the ANC said it would support the president in the case. So as a League we
would be supporting him using whatever methods we can. But also as League members
we are very law-abiding citizens. I mean it's a standing principle to say
everybody is innocent until found guilty. So first of concern, the president of
the ANC has not been found guilty by any court of law and therefore he is an
innocent man," Motshekga said.