IFP WOMEN’S BRIGADE 21ST ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE
EMANDLENI-MATLENG, ULUNDI : NOVEMBER 1, 1998
The Annual General Conference of the Women’s Brigade met from October 30 to November 1, 1998 and unanimously adopted the following:
To record our appreciation to the President of the IFP, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, for his ongoing championship of the rights of women in South Africa and the need for their liberation from the burdens of poverty, ignorance and problems associated with poor health.
We therefore call on all party structures to honour our leader’s example by:
- continuing to identify, found and support projects and all activities which uphold the Party tenets of self-help and self-reliance which promote the notion of equality and partnership between men and women at all levels in our society and;
- leading efforts to extend a culture of equality and respect for women and their empowerment throughout South Africa and the continent of Africa.
Recognising that the critically important developmental needs of women and the actual fulfillment of the aims and aspirations of our Party are inextricably linked to electoral success in the 1999 general election, we call on all members and supporters to:
- pledge and offer their support to leadership mandated to co-ordinate our election programme;
- actively and constructively co-operate in all Party election programmes;
- assist in ensuring that all eligible voters have the correct bar coded identity document and employ network activities at
- community level to identify people whose still do not have an ID with a bar code;
train, if required, to become IFP agents in all voting stations.
In offering our political policies and programmes to all the people of South Africa during the forthcoming election campaign, we accept that it is essential that we show by example the calibre of our leadership and the depth of our commitment.
All leaders of the Brigade and members are therefore:
- instructed to ensure that they are totally conversant with the entire range of Party policy documents;
- requested to make themselves available to speak to all interested individuals and/or groups and that they do so in a manner befitting the honour and integrity of the Party and its leadership;
- urged to seek new audiences where the quality of our message can be further disseminated.
In promoting the participation of women in politics and encouraging their involvement in the forthcoming election process, conference requests women throughout South Africa to:
- exercise their right to freely participate in politics and at all levels of government;
- question whether they are personally, at present, fully translating their rights and responsibilities as citizens by becoming more involved in community and political activities;
- motivate themselves and encourage other women to work together in support of the achievement of partnership and parity between men and women in politics.
In our quest to protect and enhance our environment, achieve national and personal growth and development, gender equality, non-violence, health, happiness and the establishment of values in which individuals, families and institutions are cherished throughout South Africa, we call on all levels of government and the people of our land to:
- rethink goals and priorities so that they appropriately reflect the hopes, aspirations and needs of the majority of men, women and children;
- protect our places of education, hospitals, clinics, libraries and other public amenities from vandalism and theft and promote a culture of intolerance towards the selfish acts of criminals who smash and steal the possessions of the people;
- clean up our cities, towns and villages in a united effort to inject and instill pride in ourselves and in our environment;
- encourage voluntary work within hospitals, clinics, schools and other public institutions.
Conference expresses its outrage at the burgeoning forms of violence directed against women throughout our country and recognises that this is now a staggering social problem with far-reaching consequences for every sector of South African life.
We believe that this is a community problem which now needs a community response coupled with integrated measures by the State to prevent and eliminate violence against women.
Members and supporters are urged to:
- establish focal points within their communities to assist victims;
- develop community participation in assisting the police to identify and arrest perpetrators and to support the country’s justice system processes in general;
- mobilise both men and women to formulate plans of action;
- transform their communities into zones of safety by collective socially responsible action and by changing attitudes within those communities;.
- inculcate moral and spiritual values within their homes and communities;
- recognise that strategies to involve youth must be integral to all crime prevention initiatives;
- call for well-trained and trusted police officers to be visible in all local communities and for provincial, metropolitan and municipal police forces to be established and well resourced.
Conference condemns child abuse and the increasing lack of respect for parenthood evidenced by the fact that (a) millions of women and children are adversely affected by the non-payment of child maintenance, (b) growing numbers of our children are being abandoned by one or both parents and (c) large numbers of our youth are leaving their homes and living without appropriate shelter and adult care.
We therefore call for the State and society in general to prioritise this issue by:
- enforcing and giving meaning to the constitutional and civil obligations of both parents to be equally responsible for the nurturing of their children;
- reforming legislation regarding the judicial maintenance system without delay and thereafter effecting efficient legal process;
- imposing visible social sanctions on parents and guardians who neglect and abuse children;
- honouring parenthood and elevating and promoting the status of mothers and fathers as role models to be respected.
- finding ways and means of easing the burdens being placed on grandparents caring for children as a result of death, unemployment and abandonment.
With increasing unemployment, family disintegration, criminal violence, growing indolence, lack of responsibility in sexual relations, alcohol abuse, and an endemic and destructive culture of entitlement rife throughout South Africa, Conference reaffirms its belief that women must play a key role in the creation of self-help schemes and the regeneration of moral and spiritual values in our society.
We call on women to:
- contribute towards inculcating a new culture of disciplined behaviour and goodwill between men, women and children wherein manners and moral values are displayed at all times and self-help and self-reliance are understood and recognised to be a critical means of survival;
- insist that they are treated with respect in all inter-personal relations, whether within the home or elsewhere throughout society;
- plan their parenthood responsibly and within the reality of their economic means and within stable family relationships;
- recognise that government cannot provide appropriately for the financial welfare of children and that this message must focus women and men as to the control of their fertility;
- educate themselves and others as to the dangers of irresponsible sexual activity and HIV-AIDS; and
teach our youth to have pride in their bodies and to value their virginity.
- To offer thanks to the resourceful, diligent educators throughout our country who have brought praise on their profession by skillfully producing successful students in spite of the difficult circumstances prevailing in the majority of our schools;
- to deplore the drunken, selfish, indolent behaviour of some other teachers who have bought disgrace and shame on the teaching profession and have cruelly damned pupils in their charge to ignorance and the prospect of a lifetime of unemployment.
- We therefore call on all educational authorities to take immediate steps to identify and expel such persons and other unruly elements from our schools and educational institutions and implore communities to co-operate with the relevant authorities in monitoring and reporting on all unacceptable behaviour endangering our common quest for excellence in education in our country.
- Given South Africa’s high level of unemployment and the reality of the rapid advancement in technology worldwide, urge members to access adult education programmes in an effort to avail themselves of new skills.
In view of alarming statistics revealing:
- approximately three million South Africans are affected with HIV/AIDS;
- 1500 people are newly infected each day;
- 40% of some hospital admissions are HIV positive;
- 27% of women in KwaZulu Natal ante-natal clinics have been tested HIV positive;
- there will be approximately one million AIDS orphans in South Africa by the year 2005;
we must recognise the shortage of financial and human resources to cope with this epidemic.
We therefore urge government to institute policies and programmes to promote openness and transparency within our society regarding HIV/AIDS and to encourage greater personal responsibility.
Suggested features of these policies and programmes include:
- introducing group HIV/AIDS counseling on a wide scale at hospitals, clinics and schools;
- mandatory saturation education in all secondary schools;
- training community health workers to take the HIV/AIDS message into rural areas and informal settlements in urban areas;
- treating AIDS like any other disease or infection, e.g. TB, and conducting routine tests throughout communities;
making HIV/AIDS a notifiable disease;
- legally obliging persons who are HIV positive or who have AIDS to reveal their condition to sexual partners.