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NUM Women's Structure briefing statement.
1. Education support for young girls in schools
The NUM Women Structure Back to school Advocacy campaign (2017)’s focus is on the provision of “SANITARY TOWELS” for Young Girls. The NUM interest in education and addressing women issues is unquestionable. This can be attested by the education support efforts through the NUM JB Marks Bursary Fund provided to children of NUM members, including those of staff members.
In 2016 women’s day, the National Women Structure launched the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for women, through the guidelines developed by the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC).
The structure has also focused on the “Back To School Campaign” which commenced in 2015. This campaign is part of the lobbying and advocacy work that entails mobilising funds for previously disadvantaged communities linking them to developmental opportunities, informed by the policies on corporate social responsibility by companies, stipulated in the sector charter, particularly the mining and construction charter.
This campaign is aimed at providing the targeted beneficiaries, with school uniforms, stationary and backpack are distributed to various schools, based on the information that was received from regions.
During these visits, the union was informed of the other needs required by some schools which included (among others) the need to support young girls with sanitary towels. As a caring union we undertook to do something about this, hence the focus this year is on the mobilization for sanitary towels for young girls from previously disadvantaged communities, facing the challenges of having to deal with the reality of limitation of access to affordable, convenient and appropriate methods of dealing with their monthly menstrual cycles. This is informed by the physical and psychological reproductive changes, especially at an early school-going stage of their life.
Education has been among the priorities of the South African government since the advent of democracy as among the strategies to alleviate poverty. South Africa has since seen an increase of school girls with regard to school enrollment, including the pass rate for matriculation.
However, this progress can be reversed by the reality of challenges faced by the young girls who come from the previously disadvantages communities, given the economic status of their parents, some of whom are workers, however, face limitations to meet their basic needs, let alone that of their children, given their low earnings.
In the recent past school, absenteeism has been recorded, especially among young girls in schools. The NUM Women's Structure will be distributing sanitary towels to 22 schools from the 11 regions where NUM is organising. These sanitary towels will be distributed through regional rollouts to the targeted schools between March and April 2017.
2. The current SASSA debacle
As the NUM Women's Structure, we view the current SASSA debacle as an embarrassment to the struggle for women against poverty in the country.
We have entrusted the Department of Social Development to look after these poor of the poorest and now the same department is busy playing marbles with the lively hood of all the beneficiaries, who are our grandmothers, mothers, children and grandchildren amongst others. We cannot allow the sentencing of 17 million South Africans into brutal abject poverty to happen because of some petty palace political factionalism. As the structure, we put the welfare our children, families and society as our first priority.
We call on the issue of SASSA be resolved immediately, and those beneficiaries are assured that their grants will continue to be paid without any future uncertainty. Those grants are matter of life and death to the beneficiaries.
For more information, please contact:
Phumeza Mgengo: NUM Women's Structure National Secretary: 076 359 4268
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Twitter: @Num Media