Male Mayors in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal have committed themselves to playing a meaningful role in ending gender-based violence within their communities. This follows a social dialogue meeting, which was convened by the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Sipho Hlomuka where he engaged with mayors on the role the sphere of local government can play in ending gender-based violence.

The session which hosted on Friday, 31 July and streamed on social media saw the Mayors of the Mkhanyakude District Cllr Mkhombo, The uMzinyathi District Cllr Ngubane and the Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor Cllr Mtolo take part in the discussion which centred on the proactive steps that can be taken by all local government stakeholders to bring an end to the abuse of the rights of women and children.

The discussion which wasa moderated by Mr T Mdadane highlighted the positive contributions that can be made by Councillors in their respective communities through being positive role models in their own private lives. “As the sphere of local government we are at the coal face of service delivery and naturally any issues that affect our communities require us to as with speed in addressing them” added MEC Hlomuka in opening the dialogue.

The respective Mayors shared their insights on the possible solutions that can be looked as a way to end the abuse of the rights of women and children. Mayor Mtolo spoke about his experience in Greater Kokstad, where young men undergo the process of uLwaluko where they are taught and guided by elders on what is expected of them in their journey into manhood. Mtolo highlighted how such practices have a positive impact in ensuring that young men are aware of what is expected of them from a very young age.

The Mayor of uMzinyathi, emphasised the important role played by governance and public participation structures such as Ward Committees in ensuring that the message of protecting the rights of women and children is understood by communities.

Mayor Mkhombo highlighted the imbalances that were inherited by the democratic government and the steps that have been taken by to address these imbalances more especially when it comes to gender parity. “The fight for the rights of women and children is one that is critical to the democratic dispensation. It defines what kind of a society we aspire to be. As a sphere of government, we have an important role to play in ensuring that the constitution of the country is upheld in every area that is under our purview as leaders” added Mkhombo.

The resolutions that were taken in this dialogue were:

  • The integration of social support systems in the workplace more especially for mother with babies
  • The continuous rollout of the Social Dialogue digital programme as a means for Mayors and Councillors to engage directly with their constituency on GBV