Proudly sex­ist MP left un­chal­lenged

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAK­I­NANA andisiwe.mak­i­nana@city­press.co.za

A small, un­known po­lit­i­cal party should be caus­ing a stir in Par­lia­ment for ho­mo­pho­bic and sex­ist state­ments, but it has been al­lowed to get away with it scot-free.

The African In­de­pen­dent Congress’ deputy pres­i­dent, Lulama Nt­shay­isa, is one of three of the party’s MPs, and the most vo­cal. He regularly par­tic­i­pates in par­lia­men­tary de­bates and de­liv­ers an as­sort­ment of po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect speeches, but no one dares to chal­lenge him in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

This week, while tak­ing part in a de­bate about women, he said women had lots of lead­er­ship qual­i­ties and courage, which they should use to fight rape, among other things.

“Women in par­tic­u­lar should fight abuse by men and other women, of course. They should fight rape to­gether. They should no longer be cry­ing ba­bies; we should no longer talk of ‘no woman, no cry’ now.

“Women are nei­ther lead­ing from the front nor from be­hind, but are now at a strate­gic po­si­tion – in the mid­dle – whereby they can reach each and ev­ery­one. These peo­ple can lead, man­age and give proper guid­ance.”

In May, dur­ing an Africa Day de­bate in the Na­tional Assem­bly, Nt­shay­isa said: “Our present lead­er­ship must not be seen as com­pro­mis­ing the val­ues and cul­tures of African peo­ple … the African In­de­pen­dent Congress be­lieves that a law like the Civil Union Act of 2006, which al­lows mar­riage be­tween peo­ple of the same sex, re­ally un­der­mines African cul­ture and hu­man­ity.

“It is un­nat­u­ral be­cause only fe­males can bear chil­dren for nine months and breast­feed them,” he added.

While MPs are quick to jump up and ob­ject to each other’s speeches and po­lit­i­cal state­ments, not one has ob­jected to Nt­shay­isa’s views.

In an in­ter­view with City Press on Fri­day, Nt­shay­isa did not back down. He re­it­er­ated his re­marks that women should not “be just like cry­ing ba­bies, but should de­fend them­selves”.

“There should be an in­ward man in you be­ing a woman. That man in­side you should be a man,” said Nt­shay­isa.

He crit­i­cised women for “sim­ply giv­ing in” to their rapists with­out putting up much of a fight.

“You know men are cow­ards. Once you be­gin to fight or threaten a man, he will run away. Be­ing a woman, I can’t be raped by one man. How does it hap­pen?

“But you sim­ply give in as women; you sim­ply give in and say, ‘No, there is noth­ing I can do.’”

Spokesper­son for the ANC cau­cus Moloto Mothapo ad­mit­ted Par­lia­ment was “gen­er­ally sleep­ing” when it came to de­fend­ing women who were be­ing ridiculed and hu­mil­i­ated by male MPs.

“For in­stance, there are EFF [Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers] MPs who re­fer to fe­male MPs as ‘mistress’ or ‘ginger’, and this is hugely sex­ist and de­mean­ing,” he said.

“It shows the kind of so­ci­ety we live in, where women are ridiculed be­cause of the colour of their hair.”

DA chief whip John Steen­huisen pleaded ig­no­rance when asked why his party never ob­jected to sex­ist and ho­mo­pho­bic com­ments.

“I have never heard any of that,” he said, adding that he would have com­plained or raised the mat­ter in the chief whips’ fo­rum had he heard the state­ments.

The African In­de­pen­dent Congress orig­i­nated in Matatiele, where it was formed with the sole pur­pose of ob­ject­ing to the de­mar­ca­tion of borders, which saw Matatiele fall­ing un­der the Eastern Cape in­stead of KwaZulu-Natal.

De­spite only hav­ing 8 000 mem­bers, the party re­ceived al­most 98 000 votes in the May 2014 gen­eral elec­tions, which gave it three seats in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

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