Public Protector challenges women lawyers to play active role in shaping SA’s future

Women lawyers have been called upon to take their rightful place in helping South Africa to consolidate its young constitutional democracy.
Addressing the South African Women Lawyers Association’s (SAWLA) Icons Dinner on Friday night in Stellenbosch, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela said women lawyers needed to have their voices heard on issues of anti-corruption and democracy debates.
“Together we can help the people hold government accountable for ensuring that state power and resources are prudently used to give people a better life the Constitution and Millennium Development Goals have promised,” the Public Protector told guests, who included the Deputy Minister of Justice, Andries Nel.
She said SAWLA could also be a voice of reason, ensuring that communities were not abused to fight political battles by rioting in protest against service delivery failure when there were constitutional channels of communication such as her office and other non-judicial Constitution enforcers such as the Human Rights Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality.
Women in law could also play a role in citizen empowerment to help communities understand how government worked in order to be in a position to know what questions to ask, to whom and through which channels, the Public Protector said.
She paid tribute to women icons such as Charlotte Maxeke, the first South African woman of African descent to acquire a university degree, saying she dedicated herself to improving people’s lives instead of using her qualification to secure wealth and lead an affluent life.
She also honoured human rights activists such as Victoria Mxenge, Shulamith Muller and Pricilla Jana for their contribution in helping build a free and democratic South Africa. 
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Published Date: 
Friday, March 30, 2012