By Henriette Visser – ACA Media Representative

The role of woman in politics in general and in elections in specific, is a very relevant
topic indeed with it coming into focus both locally and internationally in recent times.
Nationally the celebration of Woman’s day earlier this month reminded us of the
major role woman had played in bringing about change in South Africa and
maintaining stability whilst going through the transition phase.
Internationally too, the role of woman is being re-evaluated. While Americans seem
happy enough to allow woman like Condolesa Rice to take up high-profile government
positions, it would seem that the voting public isn’t ready to inaugurate a woman as their
Commander and Chief yet, as was proven when Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the
Democratic Party’s race to chose its candidate for the US presidential election.

The African Christian Alliance – of Afrikaner Christen Alliansie (ACA) believes
that woman have an important role to play in building our new democracy and we
pledge our cooperation to any efforts to empower and uplift woman in so long as it
doesn’t undermine our Christian beliefs.
As a matter of principle, the ACA cannot and will not endorse or condone any campaign
or legislation which seeks to enforce a quota system, since the ACA doesn’t support any
kind of job reservation or preferential treatment of any group. Have we learnt nothing
from our jaded past? Reserving any position and giving preferential treatment to any one
group over another (even under the guise of making amends for past injustices) is sure to
plant the seeds of resentment and inequality – which we are all desperately trying NOT to
repeat! Two wrongs don’t make even one right.
Although the ANC has had success in getting more woman into government using the
quota system, the ACA is inclined to agree with a report by the UN’s Office of the
Special Adviser on Gender Issues that states that (and I quote) “…While quotas
ensure woman a presence in parliament, there is no guarantee that woman will be able
to use their power effectively.” (End quote). The report goes on to say that quotas and
skills training should be used simultaneously to empower woman.
This is much more in line with our view which has always held that the best
qualified, available person, having the right qualifications, skills and experience
should be appointed to any position, be it in government or the private sector.
If you don’t follow this employment policy, you are likely to run into the same
problems as Eskom did with their AA policies. Now they have to recruit people at an
outrageous cost in other countries who are paid in foreign currency like dollar or
Euro. I just wonder what Eskom’s AA and EE targets look like after this exercise.
The ACA further qualifies its position in that it will ONLY support the candidature
of true Christians, whether male or female, as we believe these people understand the
heart of civil service, which is to SERVE OTHERS and not the self.
Although opposed to a quota system, the ACA has an outstanding record in as far as
gender parity is concerned. Since its inception in 2005 the ACA has won 2 seats in
local government, one in the Metro Municipality of Thswane (Pretoria) which is
held by a white man, and the other one in the Municipality of Madibeng (Brits)
which has been filled by a black woman. Since then the ACA has also contested a
number of bi-elections and + – 95% of ACA candidates standing in those elections,
were woman.

The African Christian Alliance believes that the only way to truly empower woman,
and sustain their involvement in elections is to educate them. We propose engaging
woman in two ways, namely as voters and as candidates.
Woman as voters
Should the ACA come to power we will improve the lives of woman at grassroots
level by:
1. reinstating the death penalty for crimes such as rape and
2. root out corruption in government departments so that child grants will
actually be paid to the caregiver. If the child lives with his grandmother, the
grant should not be paid to its mother who has moved to the city.
The ACA would support and contribute to initiatives that seek to:
♦ Ensure the maximum number of female voters is registered timeously.
♦ Implement voter’s registration campaigns that target woman specifically.
♦ Enhance voter education in such a way as to reach both woman living in urban as
well as rural areas.
♦ Facilitate woman voting by ensuring that polling stations are accessible to them
and open long enough to allow them to vote.
♦ Monitor and root out efforts to intimidate woman at polling stations.
♦ Reduce the prevalence of family voting; and
♦ Assures the secrecy of the ballot.
The ACA believes that while it is the responsibility of ALL political parties to
accomplish this, government – NOT THE ANC – should foot the bill for such
initiatives as these will build and develop SA’s democracy. The ACA – and we are
convinced other parties too – would be more than willing to provide the services and
skills needed to formulate and run such programs.
Woman as candidates
As already mentioned, the African Christian Alliance has an excellent record when
it comes to supporting woman candidates for elections. Before allowing a candidate
to run in any election under the ACA banner, we will ensure that such a candidate is:
♦ A committed Christian,
♦ Qualified and/or experienced,
♦ Not party to any form of corruption and self-enrichment, and
♦ A person of integrity who is willing to serve those whom * elected
him/her. Let me add here that the ACA has never believed in floor-crossings
and won’t accept candidates from other parties crossing over us either.
The ACA is a small party and still in its infancy, but we believe that we have a lot to
offer female voters and candidates.

Finally, for those who might wonder how we could dare to bring Christianity into a
discussion on woman’s participation in electorals, let us turn the ultimate source of
truth: the Bible.
Christianity doesn’t oppose woman’s participation in politics. Deborah is a case in
point. As a Judge, she ruled over the nation seeing that Israel didn’t have a formal
king or ruler at the time.
Esther is yet another example of a woman intervening in the politics of the day and
in doing so saved her people from terrible persecution.

In conclusion let me share with you a personal story. I remember when I was a
young girl, I opened a conversation with my mother about the election of PW Botha
that had just taken place. My grandmother was present at that occasion and
immediately silenced me, saying that politics is not for woman. “It’s a dirty
business,” she said “and woman were better off concerning themselves with the
business of raising children, cooking and keeping their husbands happy.” We
certainly have come a long way since then. At the ACA we believe that politics is
NOT a dirty business and woman should definitely get involved in it. However,
when candidates without good Biblical values are elected to power, they often
besmear public office, making it dirty indeed.
I thank you.
Be Blessed