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Zuma undermining SA women - rights group

2016-03-07 07:34
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma ignored and undermined the situation women in the country faced with comments he made about harassment, Sonke Gender Justice said on Sunday.

"The president is really undermining the laws of this country that seek to protect the citizens of this country and deal with sexual violence against women and children," spokesperson Nonhlanhla Skosana said.

"We are rated the highest in the world in terms of sexual violence against women and children so I think he would be a bit sensitive... I feel that he really ignored and undermined the situation women are in."

Compliments

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, Zuma 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 that 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.

Skosana said she had watched the clip of Zuma making the comments and was concerned that he made them in front of his wife Tobeka Madiba Zuma and their 8-year-old daughter, Nqobile.

Disrespect

"Saying such words in front of the child, his young daughter, it shows disrespect to older and younger women."

She accused the president of undermining the work civil society organisations had been doing in trying to prevent sexual violence against women and children.

"We really working closely with men and working so hard to engage men.

"[Zuma] is a public speaker, he is the person responsible for the safety of the citizens of this country."

Skosana said men in South Africa had not yet grasped the seriousness of the violence they perpetrated against women.

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Read more on: jacob zuma  |  pietermaritzburg  |  culture

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