Gender activist, Lisa Vetten has accused politicians of trivialising gender-based violence. This comes after African National Congress Member of Parliament, Boy Mamabolo accused Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema of abusing his wife during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate on Tuesday.
Mamabolo first made the claims at the SONA last week. Malema then responded by saying that President Cyril Ramaphosa abused his late ex-wife.
Vetten says, “We are trivialising gender violence. I think a more serious concern is that this year, we heard the announcement during the President’s State of the Nation Address last week. There is a whole range of legislative amendments that come to parliament. The kind of conduct that we saw yesterday (Tuesday), showed that the MPs’ grasp of the issues is very shallow. I’m very worried that when the legislation comes before them, they will not be informed based on the issues. They will use it again as a populist agenda and will use a whole lot of useless rhetoric in order to demonstrate that they are not at grips with the issues.”
Click below to watch Boy Mamabolo accusing Julius Malema of abusing his wife:
“We cannot have MPs behaving as they did yesterday, because again it shows that they don’t care about these issues deeply,” she adds.
SONA and gender-based violence
Vetten says, “I think one is going to have to wait and see, because it’s going to be the content of those changes that are important, not the fact that they are proposing amendments. My concern there was that all the comments he [the President] made at the State of the Nation, last week, focused only on the law.”
Click below to watch Ramaphosa speaking about the amendment to the Domestic Violence Act during SONA.
Vetten says, “Suggesting that the criminal justice system remains the solution to gender-based violence is certainly not. That is a concern that does not show broad thinking around the problem. I think some of the measures that are being proposed like the tightening of bail conditions and harsher sentences, they have been there since 1997.”
She adds, “It is also concerning that he is not aware of what is in place. The second concern is that those sort of measures – no bail, the introduction of the Sexual Offence Register can be fairly conservative and populist interventions and that again is not helpful.”
Click below to listen to Lisa Vetten’s solutions to Gender-Based Violence
Meanwhile, the One Billion Rising SA campaign says gender activists are waiting for an apology from President Cyril Ramaphosa for government’s failure to adequately address the rate of gender-based violence in the country.
They are expressing anger over the manner in which accusations of GBV were raised during Tuesday’s State of the Nation debate.
The One Billion Rising SA campaign’s co-ordinator, Lucinda Evans says the President must “stop talking and acting”.
Click below to watch the SONA debate: