One South Africa Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has called on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to step aside from her role following her insensitive comments on rape culture.
“We urgently need a new minister of basic education. Motshegka exhibits a lack of understanding about how and why rape and gender-based violence occur in South Africa,” said Maimane on social media platform Twitter.
The backlash continued with the DA also demanding that Motshekga publicly retract and apologise for comments she made on Monday morning.
During an address to pupils at the Prospectus High School in Tshwane, on the first day of the beginning of the 2021 academic year, Motshekga said “an educated man won’t rape”.
“This government has prioritised education because it knows that it is only through education that it will deal with some challenges that are here. Because an educated man can’t rape akere,” Motshekga said, subsequently posing the question “or do they?” to pupils.
“So, my theory is that the more educated you are, the more sophisticated you are, the less you get involved in wrong things because you can look after yourself, your family and your community,” the minister continued.
The DA said her comments were “utterly inappropriate and careless as the pervasive crisis of rape in South Africa knows no social, economic or educational boundaries”.
Motshekga subsequently released a statement in which she explained she was trying to encourage pupils to be educated about gender-based violence, adding that her statement had been taken out of context.
“The comments were made in relation to gender-based violence,” she explained.
“My remarks must not be taken out of the context of educating children to develop them to become better people. Men need to be educated about how to deal with power, patriarchy and negative or toxic masculinity. Educating men about power relations is also important in the fight against rape,” she said.
“Rape is indeed about power, hence the department has programmes to educate the boy child to appreciate the importance of how to deal with power relations between men and women from a young age.
To this the DA responded: “We have taken note of the statement released by the minister this afternoon in which she doubles down on her inappropriate comments. The minister’s statement is not enough, she must take ownership of what she said, apologise and retract her comments.”
Maimane described Motshekga’s explanation of her utterances as “a joke my darling”.
On Sunday Motshekga announced that schools were ready to reopen today.
She stressed the importance of pupils and staff at schools adhering to and complying with Covid-19 health protocols including social distancing, wearing masks and sanitising “in order to save lives”.