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COSATU Limpopo statement on the outcomes of the Provincial Gender Desk Meeting
The Provincial Gender Desk of the Congress of South African Trade Unions in Limpopo met on the 24th May 2017 to discuss strategies to reinforce the structure, gender work in our affiliates and the workplace as well as society at large. The Provincial Gender Committee met in the midst of unprecedented cases and reports of violence against and brutal killings of women and children in our country and our province in particular. Workers also continue to bear the brunt of workplace sexual harassment by their superiors and bosses, males in particular. The meeting took serious exception of such ills facing our society and called for serious introspection by all our people.
The following are discussions and decisions of the meeting:
1. On Building and Strengthening COSATU and affiliates gender structures
The meeting noted with grave concerned that gender structures of the Federation and its individual affiliates are mostly defunct or not existing at all. It is only very few affiliates where gender work is prioritized. Generally gender issues are both a thorny and neglected area within the Federation. The meeting therefore resolved on the following discussions:
- That the federation urges all unions to establish gender structures as a matter of extreme urgency and provide resources/budget thereof;
- All our COSATU Locals in the province will be assisted to elect gender desks in order to coordinate and implement campaigns and programmes of the federation;
- In order to build truly democratic trade unions we need to ensure that gender struggles are taken up vigorously. Our unions should focus on taking up gender struggles within their structures and the workplace;
- Unions need to develop concrete campaigns and strategies to elect women as shopstewards and leaders at all levels;
- We cannot be liberated from capitalist exploitation without women's liberation. This view needs to be promoted in the unions;
- The federation must begin to make issues affecting women and women workers Trade Union and Federation issues. Gender issues are "a struggle within the struggle";
- Affiliates must continue doing more work of mainstreaming gender into our daily union work.
2. On the upcoming COSATU Provincial Gender Conference
The federation will be convening its Provincial Elective Gender Conference on the 16th - 18th August 2017 in Polokwane. The conference will be attended by the leadership of COSATU, its Provincial Gender Desk, our alliance partners, affiliates gender structures, COSATU locals gender desks, and other fraternal organizations. The following is the road map towards our Provincial Gender Conference.
- All affiliates should have launched their provincial gender structures by the end of June 2017 in order to qualify to attend the Provincial Gender Conference;
- The same due date above applies to our COSATU locals as well;
- As part of consciously building capacity and empowering women, a 70/30 quota will apply to all affiliates with regard to delegation to the conference (70% females and 30% males);
- That all affiliates are required to submit their three year gender work reports for consolidation into the Provincial Gender Conference organizational report by the end of June 2017.
3. On Campaigns
3.1 Sexual Harassment in the workplaces
The meeting noted with utter disgust, the report of a case against the Director- Corporate Service at the Sekhukhune District Municipality who sexually harassed a female co - worker. That the complainant has opened a case with the SAPS against the alleged sex pest and that perpetrator will be appearing in the Groblersdal Magistrate Court on the 26th May 2017. Therefore the meeting resolved as follows:
- To denounce this act of sexual barbarism in the strongest possible terms.
- Expressed our revulsion towards people who sexually harass the other noting that sexual harassment can affect both genders
- Appeal to affiliates to support victims of sexual harassment in the workplace
- Appeal to affiliates to do more work in conscientizing members on what is sexual harassment and what to do when one is faced with such a situation.
3.1.1 Picketing at Groblersdal Magistrate Court
The meeting called on our members and the public to attend the picketing at the Groblersdal magistrate court on the 26th of May 2017 where the said Director will be appearing.
3.2 International Children's Day
The meeting noted that on the 01st June is the International Children's Day and that this has been celebrated for over 92 years world over. This is a day where all humanity pauses and reflects over the conditions under which our children continue to live particularly in the under-developed and developing countries and ponders on their future.
Our Provincial Gender Desk has been consistent in celebrating this day and further pledge to continue doing so in future. This year the federation, led by our gender desk in partnership with Old Mutual will be celebrating International Children's Day as follows:
Date : 02 June 2017
Place : Dira o Direlwe Drop in Centre, Modimolle, Waterberg District
Time : 11h00
We are therefore urging members of COSATU affiliates to support this campaign and donate whatever possible towards this worthy cause. We further call all members of the society and the alliance to pledge towards the event by visiting our office at Biccard Street or call our offices to arrange for drop off of parcels/donations.
3.3 Gender Based Violence
Having noted the unprecedented cases and reports of violence against and brutal killings of women and children in our country and our province in particular, the meeting resolved on the following discussions and resolutions:
- That the federation and its individual affiliates must embark on campaigns against gender based violence in the workplace and society at large;
- All COSATU Locals are to organize pickets or marches against Gender based Violence throughout the year;
- We must first acknowledge that not all men are perpetrators of gender based violence even though we noting that the majority of these cases are perpetrated by men,
- We urge our male comrades to denounce any of any form of abuse from their male counterparts;
- Men should now start talking against gender based violence in all forums where they are given a platform to speak;
- We must all support victims of gender based violence and not blame them thus making them feel like it is their fault that they were attacked.
3.3.1 Provincial March against Gender Based Violence and Prayer Session
The meeting resolved that the federation led by its gender desk will embark on a provincial march against gender based violence and a prayer session on the 9th of June 2017. Preparations and mobilization must begin in earnest.
Issued by COSATU Limpopo
For more information contact Gerald Mkhomazi Twala, COSATU Provincial Secretary at 071 587 2872 or Thando Ndaba Makitla, COSATU Provincial Gender Desk Chairperson at 082 808 3167