SAWLA to help make a difference in the country

April 6th, 2020

The New National Executive Council of the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA).
Back row, from left: Secretary-General, Mpho Kgabi; Deputy Secretary-General, Linda Magaxeni; Treasurer, Mashadi Mosaka; with the Vice-President of the Law Society of South Africa and Secretary-General of the Black Lawyers Association, Mabaeng Denise Lenyai.
Front row: The President of SAWLA, Nomaswazi Shabangu-Mndawe; and Deputy President, Bongiwe Nkohla at the SAWLA’s elective conference in KwaZulu-Natal.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) held its elective conference on 7 March, in KwaZulu-Natal. The theme of the conference was ‘Balance Environment for Women Emancipation’. Judge of the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Buyiswa Majiki, was not able to attend the conference, but sent her speech to be read at the conference.

In her speech, Judge Majiki quoted the late Chief Justice, Pius Langa, who at the launch of SAWLA said ‘in order for the continued existence of SAWLA to be justified, it would have to remain relevant.’ Judge Majiki said that the relevance of SAWLA, among other things, would be in the service it offers, namely changing things for the better for its constituency and women in general. The government saw a need for speedy growth, when President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced the concept of ‘Khawuleza’. She added that female legal practitioners have not been spared from the challenges that need to be speedily addressed. In her speech she pointed out that when SAWLA was launched it was during an era when there were many vibrant women organisations, such as the South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Network.

Judge Majiki noted that advancing women was almost everyone’s objective. She said there were many deliberate initiatives aimed at addressing the plight of women, however, in reality the oppression of women is still evident in every activist’s conscience, even though there have been many gains and miles covered. She said government adopted a 50/50 principle, where many women were placed in strategic positions and promoted to positions of power. She added that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has a training programme for aspirant female judges. She pointed out that female legal practitioners still do not get quality work to sustain their practices. She added that there is no support for women organisations.

The incoming President of SAWLA, Nomaswazi Shabangu-Mndawe said the organisation must take claim on what it stands for. She added that female legal practitioners should refuse to be given positions as a token of gender equality. She added that when female legal practitioners are appointed in different organisations, they must be appointed because of their abilities. She said there are a lot of things that female legal practitioners can do. When SAWLA was established it gave hope to every woman in South Africa.

The newly elected National Executive Council of SAWLA is as follows –

  • President: Nomaswazi Shabangu-Mndawe;
  • Deputy President: Bongiwe Nkohla;
  • Secretary-General: Mpho Kgabi;
  • Deputy-Secretary: Linda Magaxeni; and
  • Treasurer: Mashadi Mosaka.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

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