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SPEAKER BALEKA MBETE RECEIVES AWARD FROM SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

National Assembly Speaker Ms Baleka Mbete has received an award from the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) in recognition of efforts to champion support for gender equality and women empowerment through the Parliament of South Africa.

Ms Mbete could not attend the award ceremony held on Friday evening at the 41st SADC-PF Plenary Assembly Session but said in a written message: On behalf of the South African Parliament, I extend my gratitude for the recognition to myself and the millions of women of our nation.

This award coincides with our Parliament's commemoration of the 20 years of the Constitution and the establishment of the National Council of Provinces. In this regard, we have reaffirmed our unwavering commitment to deepen gender equality and women's empowerment. Our reform of the apartheid legislative architecture in the last 23 years of our democracy has not only been underpinned by racial equality but also the liberation of women, who have historically suffered the triple oppression of classism, sexism and racism.

Gender equality and the advancement of the rights of women, which continues to be an integral feature of our legislative and oversight work, is at the heart of the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom enshrined in our Constitution. South Africa's blueprint for socio-economic transformation, the National Development Plan, stresses women's peace and security and affirms gender equality as a permanent feature across all the spheres of the South African Government.

The award � also bestowed on Speakers of the Parliaments of Angola, Malawi and Zimbabwe � follows a resolution of the 2016 SADC-PF 39th Plenary Assembly Session to decentralise the HeforShe Global Solidarity Movement of the United Nations to each SADC Parliament. The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa hosted a HeforShe sign-up event in 2016, to galvanise legislators - and society - to be agents of meaningful change to a gender-sensitive and responsive society.

The 41st SADC-PF Plenary Assembly Session was held in the Seychelles from 3 to 15 July. It meets twice a year and is attended by Speakers of national SADC (Southern African Development Community) member states, up to five Members of Parliament of these states, observers and resource staff.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

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