Letter to the Head of Community Participation in the eThekwini Municipality on International Women’s Day

8 March 2013
Women’s League Press Statement
(See letter to the Municipality attached)

Letter to the Head of Community Participation in the eThekwini Municipality on International Women's Day

Today’s is the International Women Rights day, dedicated to affirming and demanding rights for woman around the world; we as the Abahlali BaseMjondolo Women's League do the same. It is nice that we have these rights on paper but it remains a shame in our country that such important rights are not respected and are routinely violated. It is disappointing that we as women have such rights, but are still abused by the government are forced to live without basic services like water, electricity and access to housing. Moreover, women and children being sexually and physically abused everyday.

Today is the day we express our anger at the manner in which the lives of women and children have been undermined by rapists both figuratively and literally. The women and children of this country, continue to be abused and killed, while men continue to be free and enjoy all the rights in the Constitution. We are South Africans and we also have rights protected by the Constitution.

Women and children in this country are living in constant fear – sometimes the situation is worse than being in a prison. Women still suffer the combined oppression of power-based gender violence, inequality and poverty. Politicians and police continue to ignore incidence of oppression against women as if they are happening on another continent. Women and children in informal settlements continue to be victims of rape every minute of every day. Only a few days ago, a young girl age of 12 years was raped and killed in Umlazi. This case is just one incident that has been ignored and which we want to highlight – but the list is endless.

As the Abahlali BaseMjondolo Women’s League, we are saying Sekwanele! Enough is enough! We have noted the failure of the government to protect women and deal with gender based violence. Our country's laws continues to protect the perpetrators of such violence while the victims are left defenceless from the attackers.

What is worrying is the low rate of arrest for these kinds of abuse (when compared to other crimes) and the willingness of the court to give perpetrators negligible bail conditions. These same perpetrators are able to get out and go kill their victims while on bail.

The Abahlali baseMjondolo Women's League therefore took a strong decision to write a letter of demand to the Head of Community Participation in EThekwini Municipality. As the Abahlali baseMjondolo women who are amongst the poor people of Mzansi, we will not stand living next to criminals who continually hurt and oppress us. And we believe that justice delayed is justice denied.

For more information please contact:

Zandile Nsibande – Women League 074 767 5706
Sindi Mkhize – Women League 073 730 9648
Busisiwe Mdlalose – Women League 073 501 4200