The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has expressed its shock at the “merciless beating of a helpless woman protestor” at a march outside the Johannesburg headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC).
The ANC had earlier condemned the alleged assault of protestors who had gathered outside Luthuli House in support of embattled South Africa president Jacob Zuma.
Scuffles broke out outside Luthuli House on Monday after supporters of Zuma tried to lead a protest against his possible recall from office, with video footage emerging of a woman being severely assaulted by a man in an ANC t-shirt.
CGE spokesperson Javu Baloyi said: In a video that has gone viral, a woman is seen being brutally beaten by a man wearing an African National Congress (ANC) t-shirt. The Commission is also shocked that nobody came to the assistance of a powerless and helpless woman who was being assaulted even whilst lying on the ground.
“The CGE is equally worried that there was lack of police action to either stop the beating or apprehend the perpetrator of this heinous crime. The beating clearly shows we are a society that has normalised violence against the most vulnerable people of our society, in this case a defenseless woman. In the year 2016 alone, a staggering 182,933 cases of assault were reported.”
Members of the Black First Land First (BLF) movement, who are calling for Zuma to be allowed to serve out his term as country president until 2019, were greeted by ANC supporters who proceeded to disperse them, and in the process attacking a vehicle which had been transporting BLF members.
In a statement, the ANC said it condemns in the “strongest possible terms the assault of protestors by a grouping outside the ANC Headquarters, Chief Albert Luthuli House”.
The group of men, who had filled the vehicle, were seen running away in different directions, some even leaving their shoes behind. Police had to escort the driver of the vehicle out of the area after some ANC members started attacking it.