By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Spokesperson on Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities:
The following debate was delivered by DA Spokesperson on Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities, Jane Sithole MPL, on a snap debate on World Aids Day, during a sitting at Ehlanzeni District Council Chambers today.
As we commemorate the 16 days of activism against the abuse of women and children in this last sitting of 2015, let me remind this house that the DA will continue the fight through this house and other means until we build a nation where all women and children can experience the freedoms of democracy, and we will continue to do so without any fear or favour.
One of the most disturbing trends in our country today, is that those who are supposed to be the vanguard of the women and children’s struggles, are the ones perpetuating all sorts and forms of abuse against women and children.
The ANC Women’s League, nationally is led by Mme Bathabile Dlamini, who pleaded guilty to fraud involving an amount of R254 000. She was sentenced to a fine of R120 000 and five years’ imprisonment suspended conditionally for five years. In the end, it is the poor women in the rural corners of every province that bear the brunt of actions such as this, which are obviously rewarded in the ruling party.
The Women’s League has become completely ineffective in promoting women’s issues. How do you become the key driver of issues affecting women in our country when all you do is pay lip service with no action?
As Minister of Social Development, Mme Dlamini introduced the culture of using food parcels for political gain and that was quickly adopted in the country as we see this in our own province. Women who have exercised their freedoms and are affiliated to other political parties are side-lined by our government and are told in their face “go and ask your political party to give you a food parcel”.
Yet, every year political leaders stand behind podiums such as this one saying that more needs to be done to promote and protect the rights of women and children.
How can this become a reality, when those who are in the front line are increasingly failing to defend these rights, opting rather to look out for themselves?
Hon. Speaker, it is our duty to promote and protect the fundamental rights of all women and children from any form of abuse, irrespective of their political affiliation.
Those who come from Mpumalanga, when they got to parliament, they excelled in corruption. Our very own former communications Minister Mme Dina Pule, was found guilty of lying to parliament after dishing out foreign trips and business deals to her acquaintance.
How will you become the vanguard of women and children’s struggle when you steal from the poor of the poorest?
Like Chris Hani once said “what I fear is that the liberators emerge as elitists who drive around in Mercedes Benz’s and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and gather riches”
Hon. Speaker, just because a person doesn’t put hands on you, doesn’t mean they are not abusive. Abuse comes in various forms.
Behaviour such as the one displayed by Senior Members of the ruling party like Mme Bathabile Dlamini should be punished, not rewarded.
I thank you.