Voices

Dear President Ramaphosa, did you learn nothing from Mbeki and Mandela?

2018-06-01 01:19

The day you were scheduled to deliver the 2018 state of the nation address I had a flight scheduled to travel to Cape Town. I’m a sceptic by nature.

As a woman living in South Africa I suspect I’m justified.

However, I wanted to see you live on that podium delivering the much expected speech.

There is a point where I believed the future of women is promising, especially under the leadership of your comrade President Thabo Mbeki.

He was bold enough to inform us in 2005 already that he wouldn’t mind a woman succeeding him.

He called on the ANC to lead the way in ensuring that at least half of its public representative are women.

His choice of four women premiers was an extraordinary confirmation of confidence in women, later appointing one as his deputy.

These were proficient women we were proud of.

It is President Mbeki who said the ANC could not claim to be a liberal movement if they marginalise the independence of the liberation of women.

President Mbeki isn’t the only one who backed women in the ANC, the late Tata Mandela did, he was even reported to have quarrelled with the then chairperson of the ANC, Ntate Lekota over the matter.

Mr President, I don’t know your stand with women but I do know that on your campaign trail to be the president of the ruling party you said that you believed Khwezi, a little too late but people applauded and highly praised you for saying it.

I however managed to catch your speech, especially the part where you assured us that the country was entering a period of change.

You assured us Mr President that together we would make history like we did twenty-four years ago.

You called on us all to avail ourselves to be sent. To be there for vulnerable groups in our society.

I would have loved for you to be more specific, committing to being there for abused women and children who die every minute in our republic.

The reports are alarming. It is not long ago when it was reported that men in our country have admitted to having forced a woman into having sex with them.

Abuse of women has become normal and little is being done this. Over a million women and children are raped every year. It is a crisis, the one I believe needed to make it into your speech.

On February 28 the country rejoiced as you reshuffled your Cabinet and spoke of a deceitful genesis. I know it was false because your Cabinet restructuring saw Minister Bathabile Dlamini remaining in the Cabinet as the new minister of women in your office.

I do not have anything against Minister Dlamini, but I have everything against her incapacity to serve me as a young woman. The minister failed a self-propelled department.

As if failing the department whose major clients are women is not enough, you elevated her a division in the Presidency to be responsible for women.

This is a ministry where one is expected to advocate for women and become creative in initiating programs for government, ensuring that all other branches are delivering to the majority of our population who are women.

This is an example of women being set up for failure. Minister Dlamini’s limited ability combined with a department with very limited resources is more than just failure to women.

Mr President, your stunt is an indication that anything related to women is not taken as serious as it should and with Bathabile at the helm, the ministry is at a brink of collapse.

I shouldn’t have to tell you that a department of this nature needs a feminist to lead it. An individual who will not be afraid to step on people’s toes to achieve gender parity.

A minister who stands her ground when it comes to matters affecting women and an independent thinker who is not told what to say and how to say it.

Minister Dlamini has failed the Women’s League, since her leadership all it has been able to do is organise “ hand off Zuma” campaigns.

The league is a mouthpiece for all women in South Africa in theory and protector of abusive men in reality. It has failed to address issues affecting women and Bathabile Dlamini is the face of it all.

Women have had to deal with harvesting of their organs in South Africa, witnessing a lot of young women being murdered, young school girls being sexually abused by educators, in more than one school.

There is a case currently of female employees who were sexually harassed at a gambling place. These are not even a fraction of our challenges women but we have noted Bathabile’s silence.

I am sad that you weighed women of our country on the scale and then saw it fit that Bathabile Dlamini is a suitable leader of all of us combined.

I would have thought a new dawn would be for women too. I would have thought you would have learned a thing or two from Presidents Mbeki and Mandela., whom you admire so much.

Some believe your 100 days have been a success, I however think you are the biggest flop of all time.

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September 23 2018