The education MEC was addressing the 63rd anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March in Pretoria on Friday on behalf of Premier David Makhura, who was not well.
He said: “We are here to celebrate our women and we are saying loud and clear that if it wasn’t for our women we would not be here today. If it were not for the sacrifices of women like Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, our children would not be receiving grants today.
“We are here to declare that because of women we are alive today. It was on this day that our women took a stand and said enough is enough to apartheid laws. It was on this day that our women stood together regardless of colour and said no one will stop us and the only need is freedom for all and freedom for all women.”
Lesufi said that through the act of bravery the women of 1956 were following in the footsteps of women who took part in the 1913 anti-pass campaign. He said these women paved the way for women to assume roles in liberation movements of this country.
He said the Gauteng government was celebrating Women’s Day and also confirming its commitment to ensuring that no tender would be allocated if there was no woman company or benefiting from it. The province was reaching various strides and committed to supporting girls in schools and sports. An example of this were girls in schools receiving dignitary packs.
Lesufi said the provincial government took 30000 women who used to depend on social grants and helped get them find jobs so they could support themselves. This showed that women were valued by the Gauteng government.
Thousands of women and men rocked on their sneakers and political party regalia and took to the streets of Pretoria for the march.
It was led by a parade of women from the Tshwane Metro Police Department and SAPS, and started at the Women’s Living Heritage Monument at the Lillian Ngoyi Square, ending at Union Buildings.
The crowd danced and sang songs that praised women for their invaluable roles and contributions in the building of the South African society and families.
MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Agriculture Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa and musician Candy Tsa Mandebele received a warm welcome from the crowd who joined hands with them to form a strong front-line to indicate oneness.
Various non-profit organisations, activists and civil rights movements joined the walk to show their appreciation of the sacrifices women have made for the betterment of today’s South Africa.
Ramokgopa said women needed to be celebrated for their contributions to society, “because they had always proved to be heroic.”
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