By Bathandwa Magqaza
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 2 of VARSITY News.
On Tuesday 18th February, during the State of Nation Address (SONA) debate, a war of words between African National Congress (ANC) member of parliament Boy Mamabolo and Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema, erupted and subsequently raised concerns over the use of Gender Based Violence (GBV) to secure political points.
This eruption started when Mamabolo threw allegations against Malema, claiming that he abused his wife. Unsurprisingly, Malema in defending himself, responded in a manner that not only shocked parliament but presumably the whole country. This astonishment was elicited when Malema allegedly accused President Cyril Ramaphosa to have abused his late wife. This fight has now transcended to court and Malema and his wife, Mantoa Matlala are each suing Mamabolo for R1 million.
The Deputy Chairperson of National Council of Provinces, Sylvia Lucas condemned this conduct by arguing, “women and children in this country face the heavy onslaught of violence and femicide”. Furthermore, she went on to argue that this matter “should not be reduced into politicking for populist controversy”.
However, this is not a new incident within the context of the ANC. In 2008 former President Thabo Mbeki’s mother, Epainette was also used amidst the political fighting within the ANC. This resulted in the formation of a new political party, Congress Of the People (COPE). Subsequently after its formation, Epainette attended an event hosted by COPE.
Nonetheless, the ANC, disappointed in what occurred in parliament has described the occurrence, “The expedience use of the emotive subject of Gender-Based Violence had all the features of patriarchy and deep-seated prejudice against woman. The trivialisation of GBV at the apex house of Law making undermines the very honour bestowed on the National Assembly. If left unattended the kind of scenes witnessed in parliament can only serve to push back efforts by the ANC led Government to mainstream the fight against GBV”.
As a result, the ANC henceforth expects all its public representatives to refrain from scenes that perpetuates the perception of using GBV for publicity and attention seeking stunts.
This section of VARSITY is a vehicle for expression on any topic by members of the UCT community. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the VARSITY collective or its advertisers.