Sonke Gender Justice calls on government to follow through on commitment to gender parity


Sonke Gender Justice is very disappointed that seven out of nine of our premieres are men. This is a dramatic reversal from the previous administration where four of the ANC’s eight premiers were women. Western Cape being the DA led government continues to appoints only two women out of nine MEC’s and this is again a disgrace. This is a reversal against the commitments all major political parties have made to prioritising gender transformation. Sonke calls on all parties to take leadership and take gender equality serious.

Sonke notes that the cabinet has better gender balance than the premiers. We had hoped that cabinet might include at least 50% women and look forward to that day.

New Department of Women

We note with appreciation that the Department of Women, Children and People with Disability is now the Department of Women which will be located in the Presidency. The Women’s Ministry is intended to champion the achievement of women’s socio-economic empowerment and women’s rights. This ministry has a lot of work ahead given the urgency and severity of gender based violence in South Africa and the lack of a costed national plan to address it.

Minister Susan Shabangu will lead this important ministry. As members of the Gender Based Violence Council we look forward to a constructive working relationship with the Minister and her Department that expedites the development of a National Strategic Plan that provides justice to survivors of violence, holds perpetrators accountable and puts in place fully funded violence prevention programmes. We call on the Presidency and other members of cabinet to provide full and immediate support to the new women’s ministry.

We recall with concern Minister Shabangu’s statements when she was Deputy Minister of Police to “Shoot to kill the bastards” which contributed to a climate of police violence and was condemned by the South African Human Rights Commission. We call on her to desist from making similar statements in her new role and to ensure government pays equal attention to strategies that deter and prevent the violence.


  • Sonke Joburg office: Bafana Khumalo, Advocacy and Accountability Manager, 082 578 4479
  • Sonke Cape Town Office: Vuyiseka Dubula, Advocacy and Accountability Manager, 082 763 3005