Omotoso case highlights plight of vulnerable women

2018-10-24 15:51
Timothy Omotoso.

Timothy Omotoso. (Photo: Lulama Zenzile)

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The Omotoso case makes one reflect on the TB Joshua saga where South Africans die in Nigeria when the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in 2014.

At the time, I was the chairperson of international relations of the ANCYL national task team and I led the ANCYL delegation to visit the survivors at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

We must never forget how the church treated South African government officials after the collapse of the building. I don’t remember seeing men, I only saw women when we arrived at the hospital to see how the survivors were doing and to wish them a speedy recovery.

One would like to agree with Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini that women are found in these churches because of poverty, as they go to church with the hope of receiving prayers from these fly-by-night con-artist pastors in order to have a better life.

The issues of these churches being regulated needs to be at the top of Cabinet's agenda. We cannot continue as if it’s business as usual, more opportunities must be created for women as they are more vulnerable and end up going to church with the hope that their lives will be better.

We have seen in some churches how people are made to drink petrol and eat grass. It is clear that people have been brainwashed into thinking what they are doing is right. We can no longer sit back and allow these fly-by-night pastors to do as they wish in the name of them being “men of God”. They are in business trying to make a living for themselves at the expense of vulnerable women.

Not only are women raped by the fly-by-night pastors, we also have women who are raped by fly-by-night sangomas. Women are not safe at all, as the people who will pray or give them herbs are taking advantage of them because they want a better life to provide for their children, mainly in single parent homes where the father is absent. It is important that fathers become responsible and start being there for their daughters and giving their daughters love. It is clear that when young women call these perverts “daddy or papa”, they are seeing a father figure in them and they use this to their advantage.

Lastly, we should also welcome the good work that is being done by Minister Dlamini, as moving forward, the department will embark on a process of having public hearings, and will also be working with other departments to try and find solutions to the problem that we are facing as a nation, indeed Minister Dlamini is not sleeping on the job. She is visible and, on the ground, engaging with South Africans when it comes to Gender Based Violence. It shows she has a passion for women’s issues, and for the first time since the Ministry was formed, we have a minister that is visible and active when it comes to the daily struggles of women.

- Tau is a former member of the ANCYL national task team and writes in her personal capacity.

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