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Women empowerment tops agenda at pre-SONA lunch

Women in leadership dominated the discourse at the Sekunjalo Investment Holdings annual pre-State of the Nation address lunch yesterday, attended by cabinet ministers, captains of industry, civil society and industry bodies.
Hosted at the Mount Nelson Hotel, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said like men, women should have leadership opportunities and responsibilities in South Africa.

“During the negotiations, I was the secretary-general of the ANC Women’s League.

"We fought hard even within the ANC to accept the role of women, beyond the kitchen or child rearing and for women to be at the centre, which is something that our late president Oliver Reginald Tambo already spoke of in the '40s.

‘‘I am richer today as a person because of these struggles. I am speaker today because women ensured that like men, we should all have leadership responsibilities in the new South Africa.

“When we mark the 100 years of the birth of OR Tambo, we also think of the generation of women he worked with, the generation of women like Ruth Mompati and many other women who in fact led us and shaped us and brought us up to be part of the leadership of the present day South Africa.”

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane praised Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Mbete as female leaders.

Nkoana-Mashabane also emphasised the importance of women empowerment.

“She (Mbete) is a mother, she is a leader, she is our speaker, she is our national chairperson of the ANC. Women of South Africa have listened to the leader OR Tambo, that when South Africa becomes free and we play our role in the international arena, South African women will be where they want to be.

“We will be in the kitchen, we will be in the garden if we choose to, we will be medical doctors, we will be ministers, we will be speakers in the National Assembly.”

Nkoana-Mashabane said there are no weak women leaders in any society.

“Oliver Tambo would be smiling in his grave, seeing the first ever chairperson of the African Union, who was elected for the first time in 50 years, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

“She is coming back home after having been elected, after having turned around, after having made her contribution to the continent and come back home with humility.”

Dr Iqbal Survé, executive chairman of Sekunjalo and Independent Media, announced the Sekunjalo Group’s newly launched R500 million impact fund to boost entrepreneurship, shore up renewable energy initiatives and support women-owned businesses.

“The R500m fund is a real commitment from us as a group towards making a difference and so we will fund these various categories, and entrepreneurs and individuals and organisations that are in fact doing business in order to impact positively on society. We are expecting greater social returns,” said Survé.

He said the Sekunjalo Group has over 15 years invested close to R400m in enterprise development initiatives, contributing towards job creation and supporting SMMEs.

The fund is projected to reach R2bn within a year of being launched.

14 Feb 2017 10:42



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