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Ntsiki Memela-Motumi

Major-Gen(ret) Ntsiki Memela-Motumi

Department of Defence, Major General (ret)

Over the past four decades, Major General (ret) Ntsiki Memela-Motumi has served in various capacities within the military milieu. She is presently providing support to victims of Sexual Offences within the South African National Defence Force as sexual harassment , sexual exploitation and abuse are still pertinent issues impinging the realisation of women’s full potential and participation in the Security Sector. The retired Major-General  also serves as a mentor to the next generation of female commanders.

During her military career, she was widely acknowledged and recognised as a feminist activist who espoused the adoption of human agency as a mechanism to ensure that women, indeed claimed their spaces in the military.

She also introduced and facilitated Leadership Dialogues across the ranks in order to adress the patriarchal attitudes imbedded in this male dominated organisation.

For years , she was the lone senior woman serving in the Military Command, which is the highest decision making structure. Thus , took it upon herself to ensure that her voice represented the thousands who would follow suit down the line . As policy prescriptions stipulated that the mandate of the SANDF be pursued through gender lenses, she advocated and ensured that gender perspectives were incorporated in the military strategy, plans, processes, and mission assessments, as well as in the Annual Performance Assessments of leaders at all levels of Command. This resulted in a paradigm shift and consensus reached among all and sundry that the provision of security is indeed a shared responsibility.

The Major- General was solely responsible for the development of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy. Significantly, this was was endorsed by the then Secretary for Defence and Chief of the Defence Force. Importantly, this still serves as a barometer to gauge progress achieved. As part of her oversight responsibilities, she monitored that a 40 percent recruitment target of women at entry level was achieved. Over the years, this has created a significant pool of female personnel from which to select candidates for promotion at various rank levels and Corps.

The Major- General also facilitated one on one engagements with the Chiefs of Services and Divisions. This was specifically, to lobby for resource allocation to sustain the gender mainstreaming agenda. This also entailed advocating for the appointment of Gender Focal Points to advise ,evaluate, monitor and provide monthly reports on gender issues. Noteworthy is that she further ensured the incorporation of gender perspectives in all military development courses. This was achieved in collaboration with colleagues from civil society organisations, academia, and international institutions such as the United Nations (UN)as well as the Democratic Control of Armed Forces(DCAF).

As a member of the SADC Personnel Work Group, she also ensured that gender issues became a standing Agenda Item in their annual meetings. Again this resulted in consensus building on the importance of entrenching gender equality, as stipulated in the Regional and International Agreements. The sharing of best practices amongst SADC Armed Forces became the cherry on top.  And as the champion of transformation in the SANDF, she spearheaded the training and deployment of Gender Advisors as part of the SANDF’s Contingent in Peacekeeping Missions .

The Major General’s areas of interests are the Resilience of SANDF Soldiers, HIV Prevention and Treatment, Gender Based Violence, Leadership Development as well as the welfare needs of Liberation War Veterans. As an author, Major- General released her debut book , Spear of Hope – Affirmative action, transformation and reconciliation in the new SANDF. In addition, she contributed a Chapter in the book, Building Peace from Within: An Examination of Community Based Peace Building and Transitions in Africa.

Lastly, she continues to contribute to national discourse by publishing various articles in professional journals, SA Soldier magazines and newspapers on progress achieved , and challenges experienced in ensuring greater women’s participation in the Peace and Security Arena. Major- General Ntsiki is a behind the scenes shaker and influencer whose passion is to advance the struggle for

women emancipation and the building of an egalitarian society.