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Member of Parliament – Liezl Van der Merwe – Inkatha Freedom Party

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to member of parliament Liezl Van der Merwe from the Inkatha Freedom Party. She serves on several parliament committees, namely: Multi-Party Women’s Caucus; Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs; Portfolio Committee on Social Development; Joint Committee on Ethics and Members Interests. Although there is parity representation of women in most committees, which successfully voice issues relating to women, the real question is are those voices translating to real change for women on the ground? The Department of Social Development’s South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) heavily impacts on women through poverty alleviation programmes. For example in rural areas 70% of households are female headed. We discuss the issue of gender mainstreaming expenditure with respect to fiscal budgets as a tool to accelerate change to benefit women. Ms Van der Merwe cites two examples. Firstly, the poor rollout of free sanitary pads to girls, which would help ensure their continued education and reduce dropout rates. Secondly, the chronic underfunding of women’s shelters, where women and children seek refuge from abuse, which may receive as little as R5 per day per person in contrast to prisons receiving R550 per prisoner, who may be perpetrators of domestic violence. There is an imbalance in the way that government disburses funds on gender empowerment projects. Tune in for more…

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