Silent protesters hold up placards while President Jacob Zuma gives his speech. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)
Pretoria – The IEC’s handling of the anti-rape protest during President Jacob Zuma’s speech showed the commission did not care about him, the ANC Women’s League said on Saturday.
“They were supposed to ask the president to sit down and deal with the issue, apologise and then ask him to continue. That never happened because they don’t care about the president of the country,” league president Bathabile Dlamini said.
She demanded that IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini apologise and explain what happened.
The women did not say anything, but stood in front of the podium, facing the audience, and held up pieces of cardboard with the words “Khanga”, “Remember Khwezi”, “10 yrs later” and “I am 1 in 3”. This was in reference to Zuma’s rape trial 10 years ago. His accuser was known as Khwezi in the media. He was acquitted.
Dlamini said the EFF was using women to advance patriarchy. Some of the women who were part of the protest sat at the EFF’s table at the IEC results centre in Pretoria during the elections.
“We observed over the three days how women of the EFF were used to run around to get water and coffee and none of them spoke or represented their party during the press conference or any structure of elections,” she said.
As soon as Zuma’s speech was over, IEC deputy chair Terry Tselane took the microphone to apologise to the president.
“This took us by surprise, and we really want to apologise to all of you,” he said. He asked IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela to ensure that journalists did not “exacerbate the situation”.
‘The ANC won’
Dlamini dismissed the protest as an attention-seeking stunt by the EFF. The ANC was victorious and nothing would change that.
“The ANC has won these elections. We are not going to mourn or allow reactionaries and tyrannies who are supported by clandestine forces that pay them for any action they take to embarrass our democracy, as well as the ruling party.”
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Dlamini was trying to deflect attention from the election outcome which saw support for the ANC fall below 60% countrywide.
“Bathabile Dlamini must go play cards. She has no capacity to understand the historic moment that the South African electorate has produced. One of the most important things is a vote of no confidence in her and her food parcels,” said Ndlozi.
He said he did not speak for the women who took part in the protest.
Attempts to get comment from the IEC were unsuccessful.
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