Mpumalanga politicians apologise for ‘prostitute’ remarks about DA MPL

2015-05-19 18:01
Jane Sithole and the dress she was wearing on the day the comments were made. (Facebook)

Jane Sithole and the dress she was wearing on the day the comments were made. (Facebook)

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Mpumalanga legislature speaker Thandi Shongwe and ANC legislature member Victor Windvoël have apologised for sexist remarks made against their Democratic Alliance counterpart, Jane Sithole. 

The DA lodged a complaint to various institutions after Windvoël indirectly referred to Sithole as a prostitute during a legislature sitting in March when he complained about a formal black dress she was wearing. 

Windvoël said: “Can I ask the honourable speaker ... since we have spoken about those people selling their bodies ... can a female honourable member wear a see-through [dress] in Parliament.” 

Shongwe concurred with Windvoël. 

She said: “In terms of our dress code you must dress formally and traditionally ... eh ... but cleavage and see-through as the honourable member is saying is [inappropriate]. Honourable Sithole, I’ll request you to put on your scarf.” 

Windvoël however denied that he named Sithole when he made the remark. 

The DA lodged complaints with various institutions, including the Commission on Gender Equality, the South African Human Rights Commission, Premier David Mabuza’s office, the ANC Women’s League and the DA Women’s Network. 

Shongwe opened the legislature sitting today with her apology. 

“I have a Constitutional obligation to uphold the rules of this house. It wasn’t my intention to offend Honourable Sithole. I would like to withdraw my remarks that she should wear her scarf,” she said. 

Shongwe asked Windvoël to withdraw his remarks, and his withdrawal was terse. 

“Honourable speaker I do,” was all Windvoël said. 

Sithole declared the apology a victory for woman. 

“Today was a victory for all women, of all races, no matter their education, their qualifications or their political preferences. Women have the right to make their own choices, they have the right to be treated with dignity and they certainly have the right to be respected,” she said.

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