The MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba addresses the audience during the International Women’s Day at Musina last week.

Challenges facing young women were in the spotlight during the International Women’s Day celebration that was recently held at the new Nancefield community hall, Musina. The event was organized by Limpopo Office of the Premier in association with Musina Municipality.

The MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, who represented Premier Stanley Mathabatha said it was important to hold this event, to educate community members on the plight of the women. “Women are faced with various challenges that hinder their progress on daily basis. This include rape, teenage pregnancies, sexual transmitted diseases and other sorts of criminal activities. We have to face these challenges head-on to pave a way for a better future amongst women in our society.”

She said there is no doubt that women played a major role in the attainment of freedom that South Africans are enjoying today. “Government has done extensive work to empower women after 1994. We are supporting women in farming, business and other community building initiatives. We have a large number of women who are occupying senior positions both in government and private sector. We have women who are representing us well in parliament, provincial legislatures and in municipalities. This is a clear testimony that our government is serious about giving women more power. Despite all these, we will not rest until we are sure that there is no woman who goes to bed on an empty stomach because of poverty.”

Mamathuba urged women to report all types of abuse to the relevant authorities. “We will not tolerate a situation where women are abused by senseless individuals. We urge the law enforcement agencies to punish the abusers so that they can serve as an example that crime against women will never be tolerated in our country.”

Cllr Nkele Milanzi from Musina Municipality said the celebration was very important in the calendar of the municipality. “This day has been celebrated for the past 108 years and it was important for us to join the world in the plight against women abuse. We all know that when we empower a women, we empower the nation. So, it is important for us to guard against anyone who is abusing the rights of the women.”

Joyce Nephawe from Bale village, Ward 9, is one of the women who attended the event. She thanked the Premier’s Office and Musina Municipality for demonstrating their respect towards local women. “I feel very honoured to be part of this event. This is a clear indication that our government cares about us.”