Pretoria – The ANC Women’s League demanded answers from the Independent Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) after four women staged an anti-rape protest directed at President Jacob Zuma while he delivered his speech at the announcement of local poll results in Pretoria on Saturday.
ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini said no head of state “should be treated like this”.
“We can never allow that, the IEC must come clean on it because this was clearly choreographed. The way they [IEC] handled the whole thing was not professional… they were supposed to ask the president to sit down so that they can deal with the issue, apologise and then let him continue… that never happened. Why? Because they do not care about the president of the country.”
IEC chairman Glen Mashinini should apologise to Zuma, she insisted.
“We are not going back on that demand that he apologise to the president. He must explain to the country as to what happened. This is a clear abuse of the most important subject [of rape] in our country.”
The four young women, who are members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and were manning the EFF desk at the IEC results centre throughout the week, went upfront and held placards that referred to Zuma’s rape trial in 2006 while the president delivered his speech live on television.
The placards read “10 years later”, “Remember Khwezi”, “I am one in 3,” and “Khanga”.
Dlamini said the women were used by the EFF and were seen “running around, bringing tea and water” to EFF leaders at the IEC centre.
“It is such a pity that young women in the EFF are being used to advance and fight battles of patriarchy. We observed in the past few days how young women in the EFF were made to run around bringing water, making tea and none of them spoke or represented their party during its press conferences or in any election structures.”
She said Zuma the EFF was “dreaming” if it thought such incidents would result in Zuma’s removal from office.
In 2006, Zuma was acquitted of raping a then 31-year-old HIV-positive family friend at his home in Johannesburg. This silent protest continued for the duration of Zuma’s short speech, who remained oblivious to the messages being transmitted to viewers around the country while he spoke.