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Women’s Month

2022 Women’s Day message from the GRDM Speaker, Ald. Georlene Wolmarans

Good Morning residents of the Garden Route region

Today, I am honoured to greet my fellow women on this Women’s Day. A day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in social, cultural, and political fields.  A day when we recognise the value and importance of women in our lives and around the world.

I want to encourage women to always strive to be themselves; to live their lives as they feel comfortable; and to take time for themselves, as women are often the backbone of their families who put others before themselves.

Over the years, women have contributed massively to the lives of their families,  sometimes under difficult and unfair circumstances. However, they still manage to juggle through life while accomplishing their individual and professional goals.

As Speaker van die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit kan ek met selfvertroue noem dat hierdie munisipaliteit altyd daarna sal strewe, om die kwessies waarmee vroue te kampe kom, op te probeer los en bewusheid oor geslagsgelykheid te vermeerder.

The world is moving towards gender equality and it is moving towards a balance between both men and women.

I would like to encourage women and victims of gender-based violence to be courageous, to stand up, to show strength, and to make their voices heard, as doing so helping them take control and provide motivation for those who have lost their voices and dignity.

‘Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo’  – YES –  When You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock…

Happy Women’s Day!!!

02 August 2022 Media Release: Women’s Month launched at Garden Route DM – every single effort will make a difference, no matter how small

Media Release: Women’s Month launched at Garden Route DM – every single effort will make a difference, no matter how small

For Immediate Release
2 August 2022

This year National Women’s Day and Women’s Month will be celebrated under the theme: “Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Improved Resilience.” Women’s month is all about putting a spotlight on the challenges that women still face as well as celebrating the successes of women in all spheres of life.

On Monday, 1 August 2022, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) councillors and employees kicked-off National Women’s Month in a very original way by forming a human chain in front of the head office to reflect on the progress made towards the promotion of women’s rights and the elimination of injustices against them.   The programme director for the event was Alderlady Iona Kritzinger, GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Corporate Services, who set the scene for this historic event.

During a short semi-formal ceremony, GRDM Speaker Alderlady Georlene Wolmarans, organiser and initiator of the event, started her speech by encouraging women to always strive to be themselves, to live their lives as they feel comfortable, and to take time for themselves. “Women are often the backbone of their families,” she said. Alderlady Wolmarans elaborated on the national theme of 2022 Women’s Month. She affirmed that the GRDM will always strive to focus on resolving the issues faced by women and continuously raise awareness about gender equality. She concluded by saying, “Those who know me, know that I have a zero tolerance approach towards abuse in all its ugly faces. In order to turn around the persistent problem of women struggling for equality, we must continue to build on the courage of women. “I would like to encourage women and victims of gender-based violence to be courageous, to stand up, to show strength, and to make their voices heard. This will help people to take control and provide motivation for those who have lost their voices and dignity.” Speaker said.

“All of us have been affected by gender-based violence, either directly or indirectly. I believe that there is no woman standing here today who doesn’t know of a woman who has been abused, whether it be yourself or someone you know; and yet here you are today, shining, smiling, and looking so beautiful.  Know that there is so much power and resilience within you. Continue to smile and be proud of who you are and continue to fight for your rights.” With these words, fellow female colleague, Pamela Lufele, Chief Audit Executive of GRDM, encouraged women during the launch.  Moreover, Lufele highlighted the qualities/model of a true woman as outlined in two scriptures of the Bible, which are in contrast to what the ‘world’ portrays today, and in conclusion, inspired all women present to recognise and find themselves within the scripture’s about women and remind themselves of the way God sees them. “Then you will not have to compare yourself with anyone else. You will not feel the need to undermine yourself or feel inadequate or insecure, but rather you will embrace your true self. You will know that in order for you to shine, you won’t need to be in someone else’s light, for we can all shine together. Once we have reached that stage, we will then use this power to be the keepers of our sisters and fix each other’s crowns,” she concluded.

Ms Pamela Lufele, Chief Audit Executive of GRDM who motivated women during the launch.

Deputy Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Gert van Niekerk, remarked that the universe cannot function without women. He focused on the various strengths and qualities of women. He also acknowledged the significant role women of all races and religions have played and continue to play in society and the development of South Africa. Ald. van Niekerk saluted them with dignity and respect. He believes that women are the strength behind every man. They have made their own unique sacrifices to build South Africa to achieve the democratic state we all enjoy today.

“My wish for women is to give them the recognition and respect they deserve. Over the years, I’ve learned that if you have the right woman in your life, your life is sorted. And this is not only restricted to marriage, but in all spheres of the environment. Men, let us admit that at every stage of our lives, we need women. So let us respect and cherish women, because they are the ones working double shifts.

Throughout the event, the GRDM Choir entertained officials with appropriate songs of praise which created and set a joyful atmosphere.

The highlight of the event was when everyone present formed a human chain, leaded by a ‘freedom song’ sung by the choir, remembering the women and children who have lost their lives due to the evil of gender-based violence.

Other initiatives by GRDM for the month of August 2022:

Sanitary Towel Drive

As part of the GRDM’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects, the employees of the GRDM in collaboration with the Pep Stores, bought and donated more than 260 sanitary towels. These will be donated to schools where kids often cannot afford such basic necessities. Schools will be identified from a list provided by Department of Health.

Click on the link to watch the video: 

9 August 2021 Media Release: Progressive steps towards gender equality and mainstreaming by Garden Route District Municipality

Progressive steps towards gender equality and mainstreaming by Garden Route District Municipality

For immediate release
09 August 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) seeks to bring change as we are looking at Women’s Month. This year marks 65 years since the watershed 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings. The year 2020 also marks the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, which created a platform for greater gender equality. This district sees the importance of a formal structure like a District Gender Forum to promote change in terms of gender equality and women empowerment within the region. The forum held its first meeting on Friday, 25 June 2021.

The Gender forum was created to team up with key role players like the Commission Gender Equality (CGE) and the Western Cape Department of Local Government (DLG). During the first engagement, stakeholders were present at the forum gave their full support and encouragement. Each Municipality is tasked to appoint a Gender Focal person-that is important because they will be institutionalising gender mainstream activities in order to balance out gender inequalities and to promote gender empowerment beyond the workplace.

In its policies, GRDM took the initiative and developed “The Stop Gender- Based Violence Policy,” as well as the “Gender Mainstreaming Policy”. These policies are being reviewed after consultation with Local Government and the CGE. In addition to these, a Sexual Harassment Policy and the Employment Equity Policy are already in place to attempt to address gender sensitive issues within the municipality.

A number of workshops will also be held during August 2021 (Women’s month) under the theme – Gender Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future.

17 August 2021 Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future Commission for Gender Equality representatives
18 August 2021 Human Trafficking Awareness Session Western Cape DLG  representative
24 August 2021 Human Trafficking Awareness Session Western Cape DLG representative
31 August 2021 An overview of the National Strategic Framework on Gender Based Violence and Femicide Western Cape Provincial Community Liaison Officer (Social Development)

GRDM believes the empowerment of women is key to our nation’s advancement and they play a key role in rebuilding a peaceful region. It is therefore important to note that peace and security must remain a priority for all in their diversity.

Written by: Nomkhita Mhlontlo


9 August 2020 Media Release: Women’s Day Message by Municipal Manager Monde Stratu

Media Release: Women’s Day Message by Municipal Manager Monde Stratu

For Immediate Release
9 August 2020

Women’s Day Message by Municipal Manager Monde Stratu

Annually in August, South Africans celebrate Women’s Month to ’salute‘ more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the requirement for women to carry passbooks as part of pass laws. These brave women of all races and ages, from every corner of South Africa, selflessly stood together in unity, singing the song, amongst others, titled Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo – When you strike a woman, you strike a rock’.

This year’s celebrations will be commemorated 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.

At the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), we want to celebrate and honour women of South Africa, across all spheres of life, and we would like to acknowledge them for their contributions towards the achievement of a democratic South Africa.

Women in South Africa and around the world are still faced with discrimination and find gender equality elusive, however, we acknowledge that women’s empowerment is a critical aspect of achieving gender equality. This includes increasing a woman’s sense of self-worth, decision-making power, access to opportunities and resources, power and control over her own life inside and outside the home, and the ability of women to effect change.

As a municipality, we believe that empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of their families, communities, and country, and that creates a ripple effect that benefits everyone. In many instances, women wear different hats, because they are caregivers for their children, spouses and siblings while they also work full-time as breadwinners for their households.

This year’s Women Month commemoration comes at a time when the country is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the country entered alert Level 3 of the COVID-19 lockdown on 1 June 2020, we have witnessed a surge in gender-based violence and femicide, leaving women and children vulnerable and in danger.  It is furthermore tragic to witness, that after 64 years of the Women’s March of 9 August 1956, South African women still faced major challenges such as unemployment, poverty, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and gender inequality.

This violence against women takes many forms, and it remains a critical challenge facing society today.  Throughout the country, women fall victim to physical, emotional and sexual assault, and humiliation daily by their partners. Lesbian women are raped or gang-raped to justify these inhuman deeds as attempts to convert to a heterosexual orientation. Others contract HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases, mothers are murdered, which leads to a new phenomenon of child-headed household, where children are forced to run households and look after younger siblings.

With the above said, it is imperative that a stricter approach to the justice system is put in place in order for women to feel safe enough to report crimes committed against them. Perpetrators must face the full might of the law.

We want to encourage women and victims of gender-based violence to be courageous; to take a stand; show strength, and make their voices heard.  In doing so, they will take control and be of motivation for those who lost their voices and dignity.  As the GRDM we pledge to continually create awareness, pledge our support and promote a multi-disciplinary approach to tackle issues women and children face.

In conclusion, we want to echo the words of the President of SA, Cyril Ramaphosa, during a nation-wide speech saying:  “In far too many cases of gender-based violence, the perpetrators are known to the victim, but they are also known to our communities. That is why we say this is a societal matter and not a matter of law enforcement alone. Gender-based violence thrives in a climate of silence. With our silence, by looking the other way because we believe it is a personal or family matter, we become complicit in this most insidious of crimes,” Ramaphosa said.

9 August 2020 Message from Alderman Barend Groenewald – GRDM Speaker

5 August 2020 Message from Councillor Clodia Lichaba

Topic: Gender-Based Violence

4 August 2020 Message from Ms Mouseline Maree

3 August 2020 Message from Councillor Liza Stroebel

Topic:  Gender Mainstreaming