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Mthatha, Eastern Cape - Women's representation in local government decreased after the 2011 elections, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
He said this was despite the increase in representation of women in Parliament from 2.7 percent during apartheid to 27 percent after 1994.
“The country missed the opportunity at these elections to advance local government towards a 50/50 gender parity,” Zuma told a Progressive Women's Movement of SA conference in Mthatha.
Zuma said this was because some political parties did not feature an adequate number of women in their candidate lists for local government.
The country had however made strides in promoting gender equality especially in business and politics, through the introduction of legislation.
“Research compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) shows that out of 189 countries globally, South Africa is ranked number seven in women's political participation,” Zuma said.
The government's goal was to achieve the 50/50 gender parity by 2015.
Women enterprenuers were supported at various levels to improve their participation in the economy, especially small business owners.
“Key to the development of small business by government would be to improve government's ability to pay suppliers on time, within the prescribed 30-day period,” Zuma said.
He said non-payment had been a serious problem to business over a long period of time, especially small businesses run by women.
“The presidency and the Treasury will monitor compliance on a month to month basis to show departments the importance of compliance regarding this.” - Sapa