Rise Mzansi can create an equal society by strengthening family structures

Nonkululeko Hlongwane-Mhlongo is the Rise Mzansi premier candidate in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nonkululeko Hlongwane-Mhlongo is the Rise Mzansi premier candidate in KwaZulu-Natal.

Published Apr 11, 2024



A progressive society can best be described as one that looks after its women and creates an environment where they can thrive in all areas of their lives. This includes tackling challenges related to teenage pregnancies, decisively dealing with gender-based violence and accelerating court processes that deal with issues that cause women to become sole economic providers in households.

The Rise Mzansi 2024 Election Manifesto alludes to the fact that “the family, whatever its structure or composition, is the epicentre of most people’s lives.” This is not just a statement but a reality we want to create in South Africa. However, current data indicates that women carry a disproportionate share of responsibility for sustaining the family structure.

Women head a staggering 42% of the country’s households, which is exceptionally high in largely rural provinces such as Eastern Cape and Limpopo, leading with 49.6% and 47.1%, respectively. Yet, despite their invaluable contributions, single mothers in our country are often overlooked, underpaid, and burdened with the weight of care work.

In every corner of South Africa, they face a myriad challenges stemming from systemic neglect and societal indifference. Struggling to make ends meet on meagre wages, they are forced to make difficult choices daily, sacrificing their well-being for the sake of their loved ones.

Moreover, the burden of care falls indecorously on their shoulders as they navigate the complexities of child-rearing without the support of absent fathers. With millions of households led by women, these mothers bear the emotional and financial responsibility of raising children on their own, often with little to no assistance. Many also find themselves caring for elderly parents, adding yet another layer of responsibility to their already heavy burden.

Another factor in the challenges women face is teenage pregnancies. Over 100 000 births could be attributed to young adults in the previous year. Many of them are of school age, with a third failing to return to school to further their studies. KwaZulu-Natal is the province most affected by this.

Teenage pregnancy often leads to women being sole providers of their children because not enough is being done to deter young people from engaging in sexual activities without the necessary precautions. This includes failing to educate the male child about the responsibilities of being a father and ensuring that health-care facilities are within reach and are adequately equipped to arm young people with knowledge to make informed choices.

At Rise Mzansi, we understand the plight of women and therefore call upon our fellow citizens to vote for political representatives who embody the values of the family as the epicentre of society. One where women thrive, contribute meaningfully to different sectors of society, and are not victims of GBV and slow court processes, especially about maintenance.

We are committed to doing the following when we are given the opportunity to govern: raising the personal income tax threshold by introducing a tax relief of up to R30 000 per annum, catering to the missing middle class who do not qualify for child support grants. Rise Mzansi will also increase the grant to align with the food poverty line of R680 and, over the next two years, further increase it to R1 335.

We will prioritise implementing universal early childhood development (ECD) programmes, as the National Development Plan outlines, to provide accessible and affordable childcare and enable single mothers to pursue education and employment opportunities.

Lastly, we will strengthen the courts to enforce maintenance orders and reform maintenance leave. Currently, the Department of Labour is battling to pay UIF to mothers on maternity leave. Above all, we need to create a culture where fathers are afforded more paternal leave.

We stand with single mothers for justice, equality, and compassion. Let us unite as a nation to support those who need it most, raise the voices of the marginalised, and build a future where every mother and child can thrive. The time for action is now. Let us vote for change, demand justice, and build a South Africa where joy and care are not just ideals but realities for all.

Nonkululeko Hlongwane-Mhlongo is the Rise Mzansi premier candidate in KwaZulu-Natal.

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