The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Free State concluded a highly successful Provincial Gender Committee meeting on Wednesday, the 1st of June 2022. The meeting took place against the backdrop of some acute anomalies which include the skyrocketing cost of living and yet another confirmed fuel price increase. These propelled a renewed commitment to our gender policy which is to build a society that is free of sexism, racism, class exploitation, and other forms of oppression.
Research has repeatedly shown that women and child headed households on average remain the hardest hit when the cost of living increases. Among other factors, this is attributed to the current gender inequalities and wage gaps where women continue to be financially oppressed, forcing them to stay in low income brackets, which in turn impacts negatively on their families.
As COSATU in the Free State province, we have witnessed the increasing number of gender-based violence incidents which have engulfed our province. This situation has led to an ever-increasing number of women and children feeling unsafe even in their own homes. The PGC therefore took a decision to take up campaigns against this scourge and to support GBV victims.
The meeting took note of the need to heighten the gender perspective and to escalate it from merely creating awareness, to a point where accountability becomes the order of the day. It also recognized the need to lead campaigns that are committed to the development of a society that is not only cognisant and aware of the gender issues that exist in our communities but one that also recognises the importance of the equal dedication to the growth of both girl and boy child.
The workplace across the province remains an environment where gender and unfair discrimination is still rife. We welcome the ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 190, which paves a way for the creation of safe workplaces without gender related prejudices. We will be taking up this battle to ensure that the contents of the convention become a reality!
The structure will also be engaging in empowerment programmes for the benefit of the members of the Federation including but not limited to the following.
*Emotional intelligence programmes to assist workers to be able to deal and manage conflict in the workplace and in their personal spaces.
* Financial literacy for members to equip workers with the knowledge to manage their finances better in the backdrop of Covid-19 and its ramifications.
In driving these empowerment programmes, the Federation will partner with social organisations who are experts in their respective fields to achieve these objectives.
We commit to strengthening the Federation’s gender policy through the establishment and revival of the gender structures across COSATU affiliates and communities in the province. This will serve as our first line of defence in workplaces across the province. It will strengthen or fight to resist and deal with incidents of sexual harassment and gender discrimination at all levels. Through this, we will secure a footprint of capacitated gender structures in every workplace to advance gender struggles.
The PGC will in due course, honour the two former Provincial Treasures of the Federation who passed on whilst still in office. The commemorations for Comrade Tselane Lipali and Cde. Mojaesi Monyaki will be held in a form of memorial lectures in Botshabelo and Welkom respectively with the involvement of their respective families.
In conclusion, the PGC reached an agreement to prioritize and mainstream LGBTQI+ issues in schools and at all levels of the Federation, from leadership to membership. Education on such matters and their sensitivity is paramount.
The struggle continues!
Issued by COSATU Free State
Enquiries Provincial Secretary Monyatso oa Mahlatsi @ 051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923