ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini must demand that President Jacob Zuma apologise and retract his comments regarding harassment, the DA said on Monday.
“It is not enough to issue remarks to the media, it is incumbent on Dlamini to show her commitment to women across the country and demand an apology from the president,” Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said in a statement.
“The president needs to apologise for perpetuating patriarchal attitudes that continue to allow women to remain the subjects of high levels of violence and sexual abuse throughout our country.”
The DA would refer his comments to the SA Human Rights Commission and write to Zuma asking him to apologise to the country’s women.
Zuma told a group of female journalists in Nkandla on Saturday that modern women were too quick to say they were being harassed when men were innocently complimenting them.
While checking his voter registration details, he said: “It’s a pity we live in a white man’s world; you can’t even say ‘Gqezu, Gqezu ntomazane! Nongenazo izinkomo uyayidla inyama’.”
This was a Zulu saying loosely meaning “even if you don’t have enough money to pay lobola, you can still get married”.
Zuma said if men could compliment women the way they did in the past, his bodyguards would compliment the journalists.
“But when men compliment you innocently, you say it’s harassment. You will miss out on good men and marriage,” said Zuma, laughing.
ANCWL spokesperson Toko Xasa on Sunday said there was no such thing as being “too sensitive” about harassment.
“Women have been subjected to lots of harassment which has made them feel uncomfortable, but that was quoted under the pretext of culture,” she told News24.
“In a modern age men need to change, whether they like it or not.”