As we commemorate Women’s Month, we also celebrate remarkable women in the transport sector, while focusing on rail in particular. Given the history of South Africa, rail has always been a male-dominated sector. However, at the height of the 21st century, women have made significant headway in the and pushed the boundaries in the industry.
It is against this backdrop that the Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, in collaboration with the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) will host a webinar on 25 August 2020. The webinar will provide a platform for industry captains and critical stakeholders to deliberate on pertinent issues including empowerment and equality among other issues. Joined by the Deputy Minister are the RSR Acting CEO, Tshepo Kgare; PRASA Rail CEO, Nosipho Damasane; Transnet Freight Rail CEO, Sizakele Mzimela and the Gautrain’s Executive Manager: Asset and Management Assurance, Nomsa Sivetshe.
The panelists will deliberate on matters concerning gender equity and economic empowerment. The conversion will delve into possible solutions towards economic transformation and social development as driven by the rail sector.
This virtual engagement is the first of a series of roundtable conversations that will discuss matters of economic transformation and social development across all modes of the transport under the theme: “Generation Equality: realising women’s rights for an equal future” and is adapted from the United Nations Women’s theme for 2020: “What Women Want”.
Role of the Deputy Minister of Transport
The Deputy Minister is charged with great responsibilities towards the fulfillment of the economic transformation agenda as an apex priority area pronounced by both the President of the Republic, President Cyril Ramaphosa and by the Minister of Transport in fulfilment of the obligations of the 6th Administration’s five year term. This specifically relates to gender equity, women empowerment and the eradication of existing gender relations in society, including the eradication of gender-based violence. Transformation is by itself a very broad proposal in South Africa’s developmental agenda, but the Department of Transport (DoT) Strategic Plan lays emphasis on the following areas from which we take cue in defining the context of the programmes planned:
- Transformation of the South African construction, engineering, aviation, maritime sectors in line with national transformation imperatives, in a manner that broadens economic participation, economic growth and job creation.
- The Department of Transport’s and all its entities’ contribution to broad-based black economic empowerment, business skills development and the growth of small, medium, macro enterprises and cooperatives, with a particular bias towards township, dorpie and rural economies.
This series of programmes will be championed by the Ministry of Transport through the Office of the Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi in a quest to contribute to the transformation of the transport industry, by:
- Unearthing good women stories in the different modes and programmes of transport and ensuring publicity of those stories while encouraging positive role modelling;
- Understanding the empowerment and equity related challenges faced by women, girls and women with disabilities in the sector;
- Discussing possible solutions to challenges faced;
- Considering employment equity issues affecting women, young women and women with disabilities across the Department of Transport (DoT) and its entities; and
- Informing the Minister of Transport and the Director General of the salient issues raised in the roundtables for possible action.
This virtual roundtable seeks to encourage conversation about pertinent issues that many women still struggle with to this day and will encourage women to become part of the process of finding helpful solutions.