South African women must learn to react to injustices reasonably and not put up embarrassing scenes in a bid to draw attention to their plight, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said.
Dlamini, a guest speaker at the Women’s Day celebration, held at the Union Buildings today, said the Zuma-led government doesn’t restrict women from marching against injustice but they shouldn’t act like the four women that staged a silent protest against Zuma on Saturday.
Zuma was cut down to size during a live broadcast of the local election results at the IEC results operations centre when a group of four women faced the guests with their placards which read; ‘I am one in three’; ’10 years later’; ‘Khanga’ and ‘Remember Khwezi’.
Khwezi was the nickname of a woman who accused Zuma of raping her in 2006. She pressed charges against him, but Zuma was acquitted in court even though he admitted to sleeping with the young woman. He rather argued that the ‘act’ was consensual.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said: “We continue to encourage our young women to peacefully demonstrate but not what we saw at the IEC. That made headlines in a society that is fractured and still in the throes of bitter political campaigning.
It does not take us forward in the fight against purveyors of sexual violence and persistent levels of inequalities between men and women in the society.
We can’t dismantle patriarchy when we as women consciously and unconsciously collude with patriarchy by using the on-going war on women’s bodies to fight and defend what essentially is a fight for power between elite males in our society.”
She noted that women’s political, social and economic rights can only be advanced when South African women set up strong women organizations that will champion this course. By so doing, struggle icons and those who fight for the rights of women will be honoured, she added.
At the remarkable event, men were encouraged not to use women whether young or old to pursue their patriarchal struggles while women were urged to remain principled and vigilant and consistent in their struggle against patriarchy.
She said when one looks at basic services provided by government, one would see that they touch on issues affecting women.
According to Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, “The services like health, education, human settlement and water and sanitation are things that lacked and now our women have access to these services.”