Four times Zuma was sexist

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Emile Hendricks
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Emile Hendricks

Today President Jacob Zuma delivered the Women’s Day keynote address at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It's a dubious selection of speaker, considering that Zuma has been accused of rape and has an established record of sexist commentary in the media. 

We rounded up Zuma’s known sexist gaffes: 

1. Calls harassment a compliment - March 5, 2016 

At election registrations in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma said "modern women" were too quick to say they were being harassed when men were actually just innocently complimenting them. 

“But when men compliment you innocently, you say it’s harassment. You will miss out on good men and marriage,” he said. 

2. Says women aren’t complete until marriage and kids - August 19, 2012 

While being interviewed on People of the South by presenter Dali Tambo, Zuma expressed that women need to be married and have children or else they were a problem. 

Speaking on his daughter Duduzile’s marriage he said “I was also happy because I wouldn’t want to stay with daughters who are not getting married, because that in itself is a problem in society. I know that people today think being single is nice. It’s actually not right. That’s a distortion.” 

He went on to say: 

“You’ve got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother.” 

3. Says he is impressed by women who bow to him - December 20, 2013 

Talking to hundreds of people in Impendle in the Midlands, Zuma addressed the concept of respect, saying people didn't respect each other anymore. 

“When I was in Venda recently I was so impressed to see how people there express respect for other people,” he reportedly said. “A woman would clap her hands and even lie down to show respect … I was so impressed. If I was not already married to my wives I would go to Venda to look for a woman.” 

4. Reinstates accused sexual harasser - 25 July 2016 

ANC Western Cape party leader Marius Fransman faces accusations of sexually harassing 21-year-old Louisa Wynand while they were travelling to the party’s January 8 celebrations in Rustenburg. 

Fransman was removed from his position but reinstated in July. Not only did Zuma and the ANC reinstate him, but Zuma was photographed talking jovially and taking selfies with Fransman during the campaign trail. Many feminists felt this sent a clear message that the ANC did not punish sexual offenders within its ranks.

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