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
"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
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,
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.
"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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