EAST LONDON - Minister of Human Settlements Nomaindiya Mfeketo says one of the key instruments the country must use to empower women is the National Treasury directive that instructs Provinces to ring-fence 30% of their human settlements budgets for women driven initiatives.

Mfeketo told a packed auditorium of women in construction delegates at the East London International Convention Centre today that there had to be meaningful economic benefits for women from the R33 billion human settlements annual budget.

“The need for real economic benefits for women across the value chain, not just, in construction is an urgent task that requires our united voice and collective effort,” she told about 650 delegates at the Women in Human Settlements Indaba.

Mfeketo added that women’s participation in construction could not only be limited to building government subsidised houses but also ensuring that they became suppliers of building materials so that they could become major role players in the sector.

The Minister told delegates that their voice was missing in the current debates around the expropriation of land without compensation.

“We all know that those who own the land control the means of production. Women cannot play on the margins of land redistribution and ownership in this country. We need to be beneficiaries and active participants in the land and property sector.

“We must get value for money beginning with the R32 billion of our annual budget allocated by the National Treasury to fulfil our mandate in the sector. The property sector is worth R5, 8 trillion and contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the time has come for women in construction to lay a claim to this industry,” said Mfeketo.

The President of South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) Kile Mteto said some of the challenges experienced by contractors included lack of material supply and access to funding.

“We struggle to get bridging finance and sometimes it becomes difficult to finish projects allocated to us. Lack of professionals in the field also hinders progress as we need experts input into business plans and how to run a successful business,” said Mteto.

Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements Mlungisi Mvoko encouraged delegates to monitor progress and implementation of the 30 percent allocation to women contractors.

“I hope this is not grand standing. After August (Women’s Month) all must not be lost. We must monitor the progress as this will also reduce corruption as people will be forced to be accountable,” said Mvoko.

Women empowerment, he said, did not only contribute towards emancipating them financially but also contributed towards dealing with the scourge of abuse in society.

“An empowered woman is more able to deal with any potential abuse from the man and I call upon all of you to join hands with us as we fight this war declared by men on our women,” said the MEC.

For more information contact: Xolani Xundu 083 788 5747

Issued by the Ministry Human Settlements

Press Release Date: 
Thursday, August 30, 2018