Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, says a register should be set up to record the names of sexual harassment perpetrators in the public service.
Chikunga said the information on this proposed register should be made available to the entire management in the public service.
“Women in the public service are dealing with a lot of injustices, sexual harassment being one of them,” Chikunga said.
In her virtual keynote address to mark the end of Women’s Month, Chikunga said there is a need to make education and training on sexual harassment policy compulsory in both the public and private sectors.
She said the government’s efforts should always focus on empowering women and girl children to know and stand up for their rights and never compromise on social justice.
“Gender-based violence and femicide know no age, race, and class. The perpetrators are our brothers, uncles, colleagues, neighbors, husbands, and pastors.
“Various forms of abuse like economic abuse, ‘blesser’ syndrome, illegal labour practices, emotional abuse, and physical abuse, which continue at alarming levels, must be addressed,” Chikunga said.
Chikunga said the government is committed to ending GBV.
“Noting the disturbing prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, it becomes imperative to reiterate the objectives, forms, and mitigation measures that have been put in place through the Sexual Harassment Policy to deal with and eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in the public service.
“We must lobby for stricter measures against sexual harassment, sexual abuse, gender-based violence, and COVID-19 challenges,” Chikunga said.
Chikunga said silence in acting against gender-based violence is silencing the rights of girl children yet to be born.
“It is silence to inclusive sustainable development and the emancipation of women but most of all, it is silencing a nation’s soul,” Chikunga said.
She applauded public servants, who, for the past seven months, have diligently rendered services under difficult conditions.
“We appreciate the work of our frontline workers, who continue to provide services during this unprecedented time of COVID-19.
“We pay tribute to the lives of all the public servants who have lost their lives in the service of the nation. We convey our heartfelt condolences to their loved ones and the entire public service,” she said.
This year’s Women’s Month was launched under the theme, ‘Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future’.
The concept of Generation Equality is a global campaign and links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030, calling for action to be a part of the generation that ends gender inequality.
Every year in August, SA marks Women’s Month to pay tribute to more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. – SAnews.gov.za