The war of words between African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Boy Mamabolo, and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema in Parliament has raised concerns over the use of Gender-based violence (GBV) to score political points.

On Tuesday, during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate, Mamabolo claimed that Malema had abused his wife. In response, Malema shocked Parliament when he claimed President Cyril Ramaphosa used to beat up his late wife.

Now, the fight between Malema and Mamabolo is heading to court. Malema and his wife, Mantoa Matlala, are each suing Mamabolo for R1 million.

In the video below, EFF leader Julius Malema responds to ANC MP Boy Mamabolo’s question on weather he is abusing his wife Mantoa Matlala: 

Political Points

There has been criticism on the use of GBV  to score political points. “Yesterday (on Tuesday) we saw the issue of Gender-based violence being abused for political point scoring. Everyday women and children in this country face the heavy onslaught of violence and femicide. This is not a matter that can be reduced into politicking for populist controversy,” says Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Sylvia Lucas.

It is not the first time that women are used to settle political squabbles. In 2008 former president Thabo Mbeki’s mother, Epainette was used during the political infighting within the ANC, that saw the formation of a new political party, Congress of the People.  Epainette attended a Congress of the People (COPE) event just after the party was formed.

Former President Jacob Zuma’s “Khwezi rape case” saw more divisions within the governing party, something that the ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamnini denounced with the contempt it deserved.

Mamabolo has taken to Facebook, saying he will not retract any statements he made in Parliament about Julius Malema and his wife.

The ANC Women’s League says in a statement, it has noted the tendency by male MPs to use Gender-based violence to score cheap political points.

The ANC has described as disappointing what transpired in Parliament. “The expedient use of the emotive subject of Gender-based violence had all the features of patriarchy and deep seated prejudice against women. The trivialization of Gender-based violence 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.”

The party says its caucus should consider conducting an investigation into the matter. The women of our country and the world over mostly bare the harsh reality of abuse and look up to legislatures for protection through the affirmation of laws that protects, preserves and upholds their rights.

The ANC henceforth expects all its public representatives to refrain from scenes that fuel perception of using Gender-based violence for publicity and attention seeking stunts.

“The ANC caucus should also consider conducting an investigation to establish whether the unfortunate utterances specifically on GBV do not constitute transgression and where necessary submit to relevant committees for appropriate action.”

In the video below Director of women’s empowerment organisation ,Wise 4 Afrika,  Advocate Brenda Madumise,  says South Africa has to continue to be on the agenda of Gender Based Violence: