JCBez holds gender meeting

Numsa’s Jack Charles Bezuidenhout region held its first gender meeting on March 16 and 17 this year.

The region’s chairperson, Rose Ngapele, gave the secretary, Bella Ximba, the platform to explain why the gathering had been called. The secretary outlined the programme of the day and gave the platform to the gender co-ordinator, Cecilia Malope, to describe last year’s programme.

Addressing the meeting, Motsamai Ponya said that South Africa has a serious problem, which should form part of the discussions: “Our democracy is 19 years old, but we have serious problems on gender issues.” He added that only 20% of women are in leadership positions.

He was concerned about the “pull her down” syndrome – women don’t want to see other women rising to the top; instead of supporting them, they drag them down.

Challenges faced by locals
Kempton Park has challenges with membership and gender representation, while the RT Mangasanae local has requested HIV policies from companies where they service members. Although they received responses from five different companies they failed to forward them to the region.

Tembisa has a sizeable number of women attending their gender meetings, but their plan clashes with other meetings and congresses. Johannesburg local has a serious problem with finding venues for their meetings, and very few members there seem to be serious about taking the struggle forward. On the West Rand there are problems with the structure itself.

The members were then divided into four commissions in which they discussed issues affecting women: one on bargaining, one on unorganised women workers, one on gender-based violence and one on other possible campaign issues.

The regional office-bearers on gender are Cecilia Malope (coordinator), Rose Ngapele (chairperson), Moses Thlokokwana (deputy chairperson), Bella Ximba (secretary) and Mangaliso Kambule (deputy secretary).

Liesbet Mohutsiwa is Numsa membership administrator, JCbez