South African Military Ombud Retired Lt General Themba Matanzima says as the country commemorate the Women’s Month, it is imperative to reflect that many women still face gender discrimination and prejudice in the workforce and this is prevalent more especially in the male dominated industries pop over here.
Matanzima spearheadsthe office of the Military Ombud which was established in 2012 in terms of the Miltiary Ombud Act 4 of 2012 to investigate complaints lodged in writing by members of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) regarding their conditions of service. Conditions of service include amongst others recruitment procedures, selection criteria, appointment processes, job classification and grading, salaries, allowances and service benefits, job assignments, working environment.
The office also investigates complaints lodged by the public regarding the official conduct of SANDF members whilst performing their official duties.
General Matanzima says the Military Ombud plays a critical role in promotion of gender equality in the workforce, it for this reason that the office recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Commission of Gender Equality (GCE) to promote gender issues in the workforce.
“There is a need to celebrate women’s achievement while calling for gender equality, emancipation of women should continue until we remove the behavioural pattern that we find in workforce where women are undermined because of their gender. Women play an important role in society and we need to afford them equal human rights as enshrined in our constitution,” says Matanzima”.
The agreement with the GCE aims to strengthen cooperation between the two institutions on matters of common interests as stipulated by their mandates is a sign that they are committed to equal human rights in the work force.
Matanzima said that issues pertaining to gender equality, gender transformation, gender mainstreaming and sexual harassment are bound to find expression in future complaints that are to be received by his office in its dealings with the public and other complainants within the military sector.
Matanzima said his organization will continue to be in the forefront in fostering the issue of gender equity in the workforce.