Guest Column

Where is the minister of women?

2017-05-22 08:51
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Rebone Tau

Her silence has been too loud to be ignored. It is a shame that ordinary people overtake a government department. She has not shown either courage or solidarity with the victims of rape, physical abuse and murder.

This is a combination of immorality and incompetence. If it was a normal government, she would have been fired by now.

It pains me to see that we have a very dysfunctional Ministry of Women in the Presidency while we all know gender violence is a big problem in South Africa. As women are abused on a daily basis, I ask myself: what does the Ministry of Women do? What is its mandate? As a nation, we deserve to know because taxpayers’ money funds the ministry. What have we done as women to deserve such a minister?

Recently, we have had young women kidnapped and some brutally killed. However, Susan Shabangu, minister of women is nowhere to be seen in the streets of Soweto where the most recent attacks took place. These are our sisters who are being raped and brutally killed daily. Does this mean we are a leaderless society? Perhaps Shabangu plays Candy Crush on her phone the whole day and if she ever goes to the office perhaps she is playing Solitaire. 

What is her mission when she gets up every morning? Is it to serve the people of this country? Perhaps she is not aware of how important her ministry is to us as South Africans. As a woman, one would think she would be more active in her responsibilities and be more visible.

We must applaud men like Chris Mokoditoa, who has taken the initiative to start a movement called the Million Men March – SA, a march to the Union Buildings on August 9th. They are also planning programmes building up to the march in order to make sure we have safer communities in South Africa.

It can’t be that when young women are brutally killed the ministry is nowhere to be seen in our communities. This is a South African problem and we need to work hand in hand with government to build safer communities. The minister needs to go to the Ministry of Police to get the correct statistics of cases of gender violence and missing women in South Africa just to get an idea of how serious and close to our hearts this matter is. 

The situation is not normal. We can’t have four young women being killed in Soweto and not get a sense of the tangible actions the minister has taken to address the crisis. Apart from attending the funeral of Karabo Mokoena as it was reported in the media, we want to see her more in our communities. We are saying enough is enough, and the minister needs to interact with South Africans on a daily basis. We can’t see her only during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children and on Women’s Day on the 9th of August, as these are merely annual events.

This is an ongoing struggle that we are facing in our communities and we need our leaders to be hands on and assist us in finding lasting solutions that will make sure women and children are safer. Maybe she needs to read the National Development Plan to understand what the government seeks to achieve by 2030. 

- Rebone Tau is a Senior Associate of the South African Liaision Office and a former ANC Youth League's National Task Team member and the Subcommittee Chairperson on International Relations. She writes in her personal capacity.

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