Star (South Africa)
women clinching top posts
By Eleanor Momberg
April 21, 2004
The government has made significant strides towards
reaching its target of having 30 percent of its senior posts
filled by women.
The mark was set two years ago. "We have breached the
psychological 20 percent mark," Public Service and
Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi said on
"As of March 2004, 24,5 percent of all management posts
in the public service were occupied by women," she told
parliamentarians and businesswomen at a lunch in Pretoria
hosted by first lady Zanele Mbeki.
Of these posts, 18,5 percent were
filled by black women.
Fraser-Moleketi said the province with the least number of
women in senior public service posts was the Western Cape,
with only 17,8 percent .
Referring to the African National Congress's election victory
in the province, she said: "I am sure that situation is
about to change."
Gauteng had out-performed all other provinces, having filled
29 percent of its management posts with women, followed by
Limpopo and Mpumalanga with 28 percent each.
The number of women in parliament is set to increase from 120
to 131, a 10 percent increase, according to calculations by
With a National Assembly of 400 seats, this will result in an
overall proportion of 32,8 percent women in parliament,
compared to 30 percent in 1999.
South Africa will now move up in the global ranking of women
in parliament from 15th to 11th place, coming after Austria
and slightly ahead of Germany. Rwanda, with 49 percent, is in
the top position in the global league.
But Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad said a lot more
needed to be done to increase the number of female
He believed a quota system should be introduced in the new
parliament forcing political parties and parliamentary
committees to have at least a 30 percent female
"We have to seriously consider this," he said.
The local government elections, scheduled for next year, also
needed to focus on women representatives, not only on the
proportional representation lists drawn up by contesting
parties, but also as far as ward representation was concerned.
South Africa, however, had made tremendous strides in the past
10 years in addressing issues such as the emancipation of
women, empowerment of women and gender equity.
Zanele Mbeki said that in the past 10 years the country had
seen women holding traditionally male-dominated positions in
the cabinet, and men holding, for example, the arts and
The gender barrier, she said, would always have to be fought.
Women continued to have contact with the poorest of the poor
and did not forget the non-governmental organisations they
represented, she added.
Being elected or appointed to more senior positions, including
parliament, did not change that.