Fearless fighter for women’s rights dies

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GAYE DAVIS

Political Bureau

NOMATYALA Hangana, who has died after a short illness, fought hard for the empowerment of women and was on the front line of the battle within the ANC to get the concept of 50 percent parity between men and women accepted.

She passed away on Friday at a private clinic in George and was yesterday described by the office of the ANC chief whip as “a fearless and selfless activist” who made enormous sacrifices.

Born on April 12, 1956, Hangana was previously the national convener of the state’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign and cut her political teeth in the ANC Women’s League in Western Cape, going on to serve on its national executive.

She was among the first wave of ANC MPs deployed to Parliament after the first democratic elections in 1994, where women found scant provision for their most basic needs in buildings that, until then, had been occupied almost exclusively by male politicians.

Hangana, who started out working as a paralegal in the offices of the Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town, chaired the National Assembly’s housing portfolio committee from 1997 to 1999, when she was redeployed to the Western Cape as housing MEC after the ANC – together with the New National Party – took power there in 2001.

In 2004 she was made deputy minister of provincial and local government, a post she held until the administration of President Jacob Zuma came into power in May 2009.

“Hangana was a fearless and selfless activist who, like many women activists who fought in the Struggle, sacrificed immensely to bring about freedom and equality,” Moloko Mothapoi, spokesman for ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, said yesterday.

“A long-standing ANC Women’s League member and leader, she campaigned tirelessly for the rights of women and she was passionate about issues affecting children.”

Hangana had three children: Mkhukuli, Loyiso and Thandiwe.

Funeral arrangements had yet to be finalised.


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