Coega launches new programme to empower women


THE Coega Development Corporation (CDC) will launch its Women Empowerment Initiative later this month it has announced.  

Speaking at the conclusion of Coega’s Women’s Month celebrations at the Coega Vulindlela Accommodation and Conference Centre last week (Friday, 29 August 2014) Zola Ngoma, the CDC’s unit head of performance and talent management in Corporate Services announced the new initiative which aims to further improve representation and participation of women in management and leadership roles.

In the first stage of the initiative, 20 women will be identified, coached, mentored and empowered by the Accelerated Advancement of Women Development Programme and The Developmental Programmes for Exposure programme.

Ngoma added that launching the programme was aimed at strengthening the succession pipeline and the talent pool for critical roles and leadership functions in the organisation. It is also a key transformational objective for representatives and fair equity in the organisation.

“We are yet to launch the formal programme, and we hope it will be positively received. There are internal initiatives which are already underway such as mentorship, exposure on internal forums, invitation to board and executive management meetings,” Ngoma said.

Ngoma added that the leadership development programme will be focused at three levels, that is, middle management, senior management and executive level. “The target is 70% women for all initiatives. We will be looking at partnership and seeking expertise from the market for coaching and formal interventions,” Ngoma said.

At the same event, a host of guest speakers, CDC female executives and the media engaged around topical issues and contemporary challenges faced in the work place at the Women’s Day celebrations.

The event was also an important platform where a wider range of important societal, cultural and economic challenges affecting women were discussed. Skills facilitator and Vision 4 Academy managing director Nosi Ncoyo spoke about challenges women face in the corporate world.

“You can all agree with me that we are living in a pressured world more especially in the workplace; an environment that is characterised by pressure to make profit, sometimes at the expense of principles; an environment where women are still a minority especially in decision making structures.

“Our government works hard to empower women and to make sure they are well represented in decision making structures. For instance the women empowerment and gender bill provides for the implementation of measures to achieve a progressive realisation of a minimum of 50% and meaningful participation of women in the decision-making structures including boards by designated public bodies and designated private bodies,” Ncoyo said.

CDC Operations Management systems coordinator Michelle Bakker, a breast cancer survivor, also shared her journey with the guests at the breakfast. She was diagnosed with cancer, in May 2013, underwent chemo and radiation therapy.“Early detection is what saved my life. If I had left if a few months longer I would have been dead in December that same year,” Bakker said.

At the function, the CDC’s Employee Involvement Programme donated equipment and other goods to the Yokhuselo Haven, which includes two shelters dedicated to women and their children affected by domestic violence.

Commenting on the CDC Women’s Month proceedings, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communication said South Africa is performing well with gender equality transformation in the public sector.

“Recent research by the World Economic Forum ranks South Africa seventeenth of 136 countries in terms of gender equality.  However, it remains a vital agenda point for private and public sector to continue pursuing this important matter,” Vilakazi said.