Pietermaritzburg - Gender equality and women’s rights movements have slammed the ANCYL’s provincial secretary for referring to NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi as a “girl”.
The ANC sent out a press release on Thursday apologising for Thanduxolo Sabelo’s reference.
Human rights NGO Ladies of Hope South Africa said the reference was “disrespectful”.
ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said in the statement on Thursday that it was regrettable that such a statement was uttered against a mother and leader of the NFP. “The ANC has met with the ANCYL provincial secretary and reprimanded him for having made a statement that is not befitting of our members and leaders in particular,” he said.
“Sabelo accepted his mistake in this regard and unreservedly apologised.”
He said the ANC wished to express its “sincere apology” to the NFP leader and her party membership for any offence as a result of the statement made by Sabelo.
Ladies of Hope fundraising co-ordinator Althea Thumber said yesterday that to make such a comment to a woman, a mother and a leader was disrespectful and limiting to a woman.
“A comment such as that attempts to strip a woman’s title and she falls into a trap of being limited as a woman,” she said.
“The woman I am, and the women I know, would all feel disrespected if someone had to address them as ‘girls’,” she said.
Commission for Gender Equality spokesperson Javu Baloyi said Sabelo’s reference to KaMagwaza-Msibi as a girl was unwarranted and demeaning. “You would never call your mother or your guardian a ‘girl’ because it is disrespectful, therefore you should not address any other woman as such,” he said.
“When you talk to someone, you should always address them with respect, no matter how you feel about them.”
He said that the incident came just after Africa Day, which he found “disappointing” as the country should be celebrating “Ubuntu” and “togetherness”.
Boloyi said this type of disrespect was rife in South African society and was handed down from parents to children.
“We need to teach our children how to respect one another no matter their gender, race, religion, culture or political affiliation.
“We should condemn such disrespect in our society,” said Baloyi.