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ANC to probe MPs for 'trivialising' gender-based violence, says Mabe

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says the party will investigate its MPs who used gender-based violence in a political battle with EFF leader Julius Malema during the Sona debate on Tuesday.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says the party will investigate its MPs who used gender-based violence in a political battle with EFF leader Julius Malema during the Sona debate on Tuesday.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The ANC has ordered its parliamentary caucus to investigate whether the utterances of some of its own MPs on Tuesday amounted to a violation of party rules and guidelines - after they used gender-based violence (GBV) to score political points.

This is according to the party's national spokesperson Pule Mabe, who on Wednesday said party bosses wanted the ANC caucus to probe the conduct and utterance of some its MPs. This after they employed the use of the sensitive issue of gender-based violence in their political battle with EFF leader Julius Malema.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude has meanwhile admitted that they congratulated ANC MP Boy Mamabolo for employing GBV to attack Malema, but denied that his plan had been caucused with them beforehand.

Mabe said in a statement on Wednesday that the ANC would expect all its MPs to refrain from using GBV for cheap "publicity stunts" - and that the conduct of Mamobolo and others should be probed.

"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.

"The ANC also believes that public representatives, regardless of their political affiliation, have a moral duty to act in a responsible manner primarily around their articulations on an emotive subject like gender-based violence.

"The ANC further calls on relevant committees in parliament to enforce the use of appropriate language and acceptable conduct from amongst all members of parliament." 

This comes after Mamabolo, supported by several legislators from his party benches, on Tuesday accused Malema of physically abusing his wife, Mantwa. The accusation allegedly started at the state of the nation address (Sona) last week.

Malema - a former political ally turned rival of Mamabolo - has denied the charge during his response to the Sona, but immediately accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of abusing his late ex-wife, Nomazizi Mtshothsisa.

This has sparked outrage among activists and other sectors of society, who have accused MPs of trivialising serious issue that directly affected the lives of women while putting real socio-economic issues on the back burner.

Mabe said what happened in parliament on Tuesday, which was started by one their MPs, demonstrated prejudice against women.

"The expedient use of the emotive subject of gender-based violence had all the features of patriarchy and deep-seated prejudice against women," he said.

"The trivialisation of gender-based violence at the apex house of lawmaking 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 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."

Speaking in parliament on the second day of the Sona debate on Wednesday, DA MP Angel Khanyile said it was shameful to watch ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina and her deputy Doris Dlakude applauding Mamabolo and other ANC MPs for invoking GBV in a political fight.

Rising on a point of order, Dlakude denied that they had caucused the matter prior to Tuesday's sitting, but said they had nothing to apologise for.

"We have proofs [sic] on our phones, honourable chairperson. We were congratulating our own comrade for dislodging the president of the EFF, but we have never caucused about anyone attacking anyone on GBV or personally," said Dlakude.


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