Minister Shabangu is a disgrace to South African women
She is proving to be their enemy by sitting on the sidelines, watching as they’re being destroyed
GREETINGS Mrs Shabangu Amid women abuse in our country, your department – much like your work – is a well-kept secret. As with many others, before I became an employee of the Department of Women, I was not aware of its existence. Still, I thought you could be excused for I joined your department in 2015 with the ministry having been established in May 2014.
And just like many South Africans, I found excuses for you. Why we continue to tolerate political figures like you who are underperforming remains a mystery. We need to be ruthless with individuals like you.
However, we seem to always be prepared to allow, accept and endure your inefficiency and corruption in the name of “We are a young democracy” or “It’s our people”.
You, Mrs Shabangu, are no person of mine. You positioned yourself as the enemy of women in this country when you decided to sit on the sidelines and watch them be destroyed even though your mandate is to champion their advancement and the promotion of gender equality.
I have no idea how you still occupy the position you do in the highest office in the land. President Jacob Zuma was supposed to have fired you long ago, knowing that you do not deliver on your mandate and obligation, but that would be expecting too much from him as well.
I have no faith in you because I have served under you and was also part of your executive meetings. I know that you have no serious agenda for the women of our country. You are no advocate of ours and neither do you have any interest in being one.
Your department is a nightmare that operates on gossip. Its main focus is to get rid of certain people who served under your predecessor Lulama Xingwana. As women of South Africa, we must cull you and your directionless leadership.
South African women must reject you and your zero effort to carry out your mandate and responsibility as a minister responsible for them.
It was supposed to be you who called Mr Malusi Gigaba out, when he passed laws whereby children born out of wedlock needed an affidavit in which the absent parent gave consent for the child to travel. He also required a court order or legal guardianship of the child or death certificate of the absent parent. This in a country where nearly two thirds of South African children grow up without fathers in their homes.
You, Mrs Shabangu, refused to call out your colleague, the mayor of uThukela, who had a bursary scheme to award virgins. Tears welled up in my eyes as you repeatedly refused to take interviews or speak about the matter. In truth, we both know you saw nothing wrong with her initiative, which answers the question my former GCIS colleagues always ask: Why do communicators not last in your department?
I guess no self-respecting professional will allow a shameless ineffectual, homophobic, anti-feminist and traditionalist like you to make them look incompetent. You believed Zulu culture was being disrespected when the Commission for Gender Equality ruled that women should not be awarded bursaries based on their virginity.
In the main, Mrs Shabangu, you have the responsibility to call on Mr Fikile Mbalula to prioritise rebuilding the trust of victims of rape and women abuse in the police. You should know that our police are at the forefront of discouraging victims from reporting crimes because they themselves are abusive and dismissive. We cannot allow a situation where we accept that our women and children have stopped reporting crimes like rape and abuse because of government representatives.
As a leader in the ANC and the country responsible for women, your silence was deafening when a 20-year-old gave shocking details about what transpired between her and the then ANC chairperson in the Western Cape.
You never summoned the minister of education to see how you could resolve the issue of girls who dropped out of school because of the lack of sanitary necessities. Our country is faced with a high rate of teenage pregnancies, yet you are tightlipped. You and your colleague should be aware of these atrocities but more importantly, you should have a plan to rescue our girl child. Mrs Shabangu, what is your plan? I will make a call to everyone to stand with us, to join us and support us in uprooting sexual violence against women and children in our communities. I will remind them that every citizen who stands by and does not join this fight while women are humiliated, brutally murdered raped and ripped from the face of the Earth is equally responsible.