Let’s follow the lead of the women of ‘56; fight the failing ANC government at the polls

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP – Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
09 Aug 2023 in News

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition Siviwe Gwarube during the DA’s National Women’s Day rally in Johannesburg.

Please download pictures here, here and here.

Good morning, Democrats!

It is so good to be here with you this Women’s Day.

It is always such an incredible moment to celebrate the work of the women of 1956 and commemorate their mark in history.

I am always so inspired by their fighting spirit;

But I am more encouraged by their unity in their diversity.

They understood then – 67 years ago – that there are issues which face women which often transcend their race, their socio-economic background or even their sexual orientation.

The fight against the Apartheid government was one such unifying battle.

The fight for the protection of women in 2023 is also an important and unifying battle.

Women are under attack in our society and government does little to afford us the protections needed after 7 decades from that historic day.

We do not want pink balloons and pretty pictures of women in heels – we want equal pay;

We do not want to be called imbokodo – we want to be protected from sexual predators;

We do not want to be labelled the ‘mothers of the nation’ – we want access to the criminal justice system so that men can pay to raise their children.

We are tired of these platitudes; while sibulaleka under an uncaring government.

Let me paint a picture for you;

Every single social-ill in this country disproportionately affects women the most;

The crime statistics show that it is women who are the victims of violent crimes;

Women in this country are raped and killed every single day;

From the crisis of Zama- Zamas here in Gauteng to the taxi violence raging through the streets of Cape Town; it is women who have to face the brunt of it.

To this end, we are calling on SANTACO and its affiliates to stop the violence on the streets of Cape Town.

We are calling on Minister Chikunga and Minister Cele to stop picking sides in this deadlock and to stop playing politics with the lives of people.

It is the women who are domestic workers, healthcare workers and teachers who fear for their lives as they make their way to work every day.

The violence must stop and a solution must be found!

The joblessness we see haunting our communities affects women the most as many are the breadwinners and heads of households;

They are the ones ekufuneke becukuceze a small child grant or the R350 every month to put food on the table;

ooMakhulu bethu are the ones who spend their old age grant besondla ii-family zabo nabantwana abangaphangeliyo.

Young women desperate for work are preyed upon by councilors who are demanding sex in exchange for temporary work;

The corruption we see in government departments means there is less money to be spent on services;

There are government employees abatya imali yesibonelelo sabantu abangathathi ntweni;

Money meant for housing, water, roads, clinics ityiwa ngoohlohlesabo abahleli kula Union Buildings.

The inequality of pay means that women who do the same work as men in many work places are paid less – only because they are women.

We saw the outcry when Banyana Banyana demanded equal pay before the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Despite the fact that they do the same work and perform better than their male counterparts!

We congratulate Banyana Banyana for flying the South African flag high and never giving up despite the many challenges they face.

Every single thing that goes wrong in the country will always affect women the most.

This is why we need change and we need it now!


Women have been fighting a silent struggle against the government system that continues to ignore their plight.

Many women who are mothers or guardians are often faced with raising children on their own without the rightful help of fathers.

More than 60% of fathers are absent in their children’s lives and it is the mothers who have to pick up the load.

The DA Women’s Network ihlaba ikhwelo namhlanje.

Sithi violence against women and children is not only a fist to the face.

It is also the fact that men are neglecting their duties as fathers and the government is allowing this to happen.

Child malnutrition in South Africa is on the rise;

Over 80% of children cannot read for meaning;

And women often end up losing their jobs while trying to fight for child maintenance in court.

The process is long; it is daunting and often favours the men and not the woman or the child!

This can be fixed.

Instead of paying lip-service to the plight of women – government can change the system:

• They can introduce mobile maintenance courts to bring these closer to the communities they are meant to serve;

• Government can bring specialized maintenance courts that deal with these cases for quicker resolution and lessen the backlog;

• Court officials must be better trained to assist women who bring these cases to the court system

Our judiciary is often the last line of defense for many people;

That is why we are calling on Minister Ronald Lamola and his colleagues to go back to the drawing board and assist not only women but the children caught in the middle of these court battles.


If this court system is not fixed, we will be raising a generation of children who are trapped in poverty for life;

Inequality will worsen for years to come because we are not investing and protecting the most vulnerable in our society.


That is why I am pleading with you today to follow the example of the women of 56!

They did not let the apartheid government divide them – they saw their fight bigger than anything!

They united across communities and paved the way for you and I today.

However, we have a new battle on our hands,

A battle against poor leadership!

We must unite again, register to vote next year and vote out this ANC government!

There is nothing they can do to rescue our country, it is now in our hands.

We must be registered so we can fire this government at polls, and bring on a government that cares!

A government that will ensure we are safe in the streets and in our homes;

A government that will make sure we have work;

A government that will make sure our children are well-looked after and fathers contribute to their wellbeing as much as their mothers;

A government that will make sure we get equal pay for equal work;

A government that will embrace women at the leadership table and not lock them out!

That government can only be led by the DA!

We have the ideas!

We have the political will!

We have the energy!

We understand the needs of the people of our country!

We are ready to change the story of South African women;

It is starts with you and the ‘X’ next year!

Viva DA Viva!

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za