The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has commended South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for appointing 50 per cent women to his Cabinet, announced on May 29, 2019 at the Union Buildings.

In a statement, Tuesday, NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale said President Ramaphosa’s Cabinet was in line with the commitments which African leaders made regarding 50-50 representation.

“The decision by President Ramaphosa is in line with commitments made by African leaders to the 50-50 representation of women and men in decision-making positions. South Africa has become one of the world’s few gender-balanced governments, further demonstrating commitment to the gender agenda as an imperative to sustainable national development,” Mwale stated.

She also commended President Ramaphosa for cutting down the number of Cabinet ministers from 36 to 28.

“While appointing more women in Cabinet to achieve gender diversity, President Ramaphosa has also cut the number of Cabinet Ministers from 36 to 28 to tackle the “bloated” government and improve public service efficiency and effectiveness. NGOCC wishes to note that this is a positive step in actualising what Africa as a whole has committed to, both at regional and continental levels, towards achieving the Africa We Want through the Agenda 2063,” she stated.

Mwale lamented that Zambia was still lagging behind in terms of equal gender representation.

“NGOCC further notes with concern that despite the many efforts by various stakeholders to promote gender equality at all levels of leadership, Zambia is still lagging behind with only 127 female Councillors out of a total of 1,624; 10 female Council Chairpersons/Executive Mayors out of 109; 29 female Members of Parliament out of 164; 11 women Cabinet Members out 33 and no female Provincial Ministers out of all the 10 appointed. In this regard, NGOCC will continue calling on the Republican President, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to prioritise the appointment of more women to decision making positions in line with Article 259 of the National Constitution. This is also given that Zambia remains a signatory to both the African Union and SADC Gender Protocols,” stated Mwale.

“The Government and indeed all stakeholders, especially political parties should put in place measures to ensure gender parity at all levels. In this regard, we wish to implore the different political parties to adopt and field female candidates for the upcoming Katuba Parliamentary By-election as they all look to replacing the late Katuba Lawmaker Ms Patricia Mwashingwele (May her soul rest in peace). It is NGOCC’s expectation that all political parties commit themselves to the gender agenda as a principle of practice for national development and not just a symbolic act of tokenism. The nation of Zambia stands to benefit if women and men are facilitated to work together in solidarity and with equal opportunities as leaders for the transformation of our country.”