Africa: The SWC Women’s Lekgotla began earlier today with highlights of the first session being the opening remarks by Cllr Matshediso Mongoathe from Bojanala District Municipality, Lighting of the Candle of Hope by Cllr Judy Mothibi of Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality, Welcome Address by Cllr Matlakala Nondzaba – Executive Mayor of Bojanala Platinum District Municipality. Commissioner Gago Mathe – Chairperson of the North West SALGA Women’s Commission & Speaker of Mahikeng Local Municipality, set the tone for the lekgotla and shared the SWC Terms of Reference.
In her address, Commissioner Mathe alluded to the origin of Women’s Month & Day, academic development & career pathing as means for women’s empowerment, the scourge of gender-based violence and what must be achieved at the end of the lekgotla. “I request that at the end of this two-day lekgotla, we should have in our possession a clear and achievable programme of action that addresses; gender mainstreaming in our municipalities, including budgeting for this deliverable and; means to improve gender equality in our municipalities, focusing on increasing the participation of women and men in key administrative and political decision making structures as well as in economic empowerment streams such as women farming and other activities that we, as a collective will come up with,” concluded Mathe.
Cllr Nondzaba emphasised the importance of strengthening stakeholder relationships, especially with women groups and NGOs, to realise the SWC’s goals of increasing women’s participation in key economic activities and ending gender-based violence.
As Cllr Mothibi lit the candles of hope, she mentioned that delegates should not only remember those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, but also those who live with other comorbidities.
The 2022 SWC Lekgotla will continue throughout the day, with panel discussions this afternoon and end with a declaration by all delegates tomorrow. This declaration will guide the commission’s plan of action for the next year.