All women deserve equality in the law

2016-10-20 06:00

The Yeoville Bellevue’s No to Gender Based Violence Coalition welcomes the appointment of a new judge for the trial of former ANC Youth League leader, Patrick Wisani, who is accused of sjambokking Nosipho Mandleleni, his parter, rto death in September 2015.

We are particularly encouraged by Judge Mohamed Ismail’s statement in court this week that he has been specifically sent by the Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Justice Dunstan Mlambo, to preside over this case and to see that it is concluded quickly and properly.

We believe that this case is significant for three reasons. First, it is a case about violence against women, and intimate partner femicide, which is something our leaders both acknowledge as a serious societal ill, and claim to condemn.

Secondly, it is case about a political leader who stands accused of committing violence against a woman.

This should deeply concern us as society, if we accept that we want leaders of a high calibre, who should lead by example.

Thirdly, it is a case that should serve as a stark reminder how women’s rights to safety and security, and indeed equality and human dignity, are just paper dreams for the majority.

Despite societal outcry over violence against women and children, and a commitment by our state to combat such, those in power who come under suspicion of such heinous violence often continue to enjoy zealous support and even glorification from particular sections of society.

This is an indictment of our society, and betrays the lack of political will to truly see women as human beings equal to men– especially when these men hold political power.

We are dismayed by the conspicuous absence of the ANC Women’s League in this case, given their very visible presence at high-profile trials such as that of Oscar Pistorius.

Their absence is especially disappointing given that the victim in this case, Nosipho Mandleleni, was herself a member of the ANC.

We are likewise disappointed that no other political party has spoken out about this case.

What does this say about the seriousness with which they view the issue of gender-based violence.

Chwayita Ngozi via email

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