The Women of Corruption Watch: The glue that holds us together, meet our office coordinator Elizabeth Phalafala

Posted by Nosimilo Ramela on 31 August 2016 4:50 PM CAT

We continue to celebrate the women of Corruption Watch (CW). Meet the ladies who wake up every day and help fight corruption one task at a time.

Meet our office coordinator and fashionista extraordinaire - Elizabeth "Lizzy" Phalafala is the glue that holds CW together. She is passionate about young women's development and uplifting the youth. When she's not at the office making sure everything runs smoothly she spends her time working with the youth of her community in Mamelodi.

If you were an animal what animal would you be? A lion because I like to lead and I’m very strong. I have eight brothers and they made me strong so I’ve a strong character. I’m calm and I act when necessary.

Where do you hail from? Mamelodi West, Pretoria.

What is your position at Corruption Watch? Office coordinator.

How did you find out about CW? When I was looking for work the agency called me and that’s how I found out about it, it was not that popular in Pretoria.

Why did you choose to join an organisation such as CW? I also wanted change, I’ve worked for other organisations in the HIV space and it was time for a change and to learn new things.

Tell me a bit more about your work at CW? I’m an all-rounder, I manage the organisation's calendar, I work closely with our ED David, I do a bit of human resource work, and coordinate.

Are you involved in any community or other social leader work outside of your work at CW or before joining CW? Yes, we have an organisation in Mamelodi called Tiisa Mamelodi. I do public relations for the organisation. Our mandate is to uplift young people, help them see life differently and have hope. We use our own money to buy sanitary towels for young girls, and shoes and jerseys in winter for the youth. We also help grade 11s get bursaries for tertiary study.

What are your overall perceptions on corruption in this country? When we look at things now, corruption is very bad. People think it’s a way of life. In order to get on to any database people bribe each other, even at schools students bribe to get good marks. Privileged people especially feel they can bypass certain systems by just paying others off. Parents trying to get their grade 1s into schools bribe to get in or they use someone else’s address to secure a space by pretending they live in the area. It’s all corruption.   

What are your opinions on CW’s fight on corruption? I think we need to be out there more and more. As long as we make a noise corruption will be minimised. People need to see results, people want to know and see outcomes.

How do you think women specifically can help fight corruption? What do you think is the role of the women in the fight against corruption? These things can start at home - as women and mothers we can start teaching the young ones how to live a non-corrupt life. It should be the norm that we teach them not to steal and not to swear, and we need to teach them not to do corruption.

What are your views on social justice issues such as  crime and unemployment, specifically where they affect women? If they don’t see themselves getting better in life they resort to things like early prostitution. Government and private companies should work together and give young women hope. They need to start schools specifically catering for young women who are doing well, so we don’t lose them.

Would you say you are a corruption fighter/warrior? Yes.

What are you doing to fight corruption? I am currently working for a corruption fighting organisation, even though I’m in operations I make life easier for my colleagues so that they go out there and make a change.

What are the moments that stand out in your work as part of the fight against corruption so far? The Anti-Corruption March. We all got involved - no-one was in the office. As the operations department we don’t get out and do such, but this time nobody was left in the office. We all got involved! I wish we could do more and get more involved in these campaigns.

August is Women’s Month; do you think it’s still important to celebrate Women’s Day and Women’s Month? Why? Yes, because we get to be reminded how important we are in the society, because we work very hard, we take care of everything. We make sure kids grow in a mannered way, we go to work but also come back home and make sure all is well in the home.

What do you think should be the focus of such a commemoration? Getting women to love themselves. When you love yourself all the goodness will flow out of you. When you love yourself you will believe in yourself more.

What did you do on August 09? I attended a women’s day function in Ga-Rankuwa. There were motivational speakers, women in business motivating young women. They encouraged them to believe in themselves and told them they too can become businesswomen one day.

Have you ever been involved in any corruption yourself? Ever cheated in a school test? Paid a bribe? Not really. Not involved myself but I’ve seen things happening like seeing people cheating on tests at school.

When you are not fighting corruption what do you get up to? I like shopping, window shopping. My husband sells shoes so we look around for new designs and I help him.

Who is your corruption fighting hero and why? The communities who see there are certain services that are not being delivered in their areas and they try to find the reason. I respect the people of the community; they don’t sit still, they make a noise and try to find out what’s happening and why things are not being done as promised. They are my heroes.

What message do you have for fellow women corruption fighters out there? We must keep on fighting.

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