Statement issued by Thandi Nontenja – UDEMWO Secretary General

The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) is disturbed by reports of yet another female murder victim: young Capetonian Ms Aviwe Jam-Jam. Her name has been added to the ever-lengthening list of woman victims of violence and crime in South Africa.

The fact that her body was found dumped at a sport field, not very far from her home, rubs salt into an already raw national wound. Like most women caught in an abusive cycle, Aviwe had – according to a relative – tried to get away from her allegedly abusive boyfriend who seems to be suspected of her murder. It is alleged that her boyfriend had a reputation for violence and destruction of property, yet nothing was done. The system has failed young Aviwe!

On the disgraceful actions of Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana, UDEMWO believes that neither the response of ruling party, nor Police Ministry, nor the police services, is vaguely commensurate to the nature of what happened.

The Women’s League’s lukewarm reaction to the situation is a condemnation of the women at its helm. Ms Bathabile Dlamini and Ms Baleka Mbete, spends all their time protecting their irredeemable Mr Zuma. You are focusing on the wrong man ladies! Have you no backbone?

Deputy Minister Manana is a public leader who should be the daily embodiment of the campaign against gender-violence, for when a prominent South African man makes himself guilty of gender violence, it makes it easy for the ordinary man to follow his example.

UDEMWO feels that the Honourable Deputy-Minister has been (and still is) accorded special status when he was not cuffed and arrested. It is hogwash to argue that his actions were “not so bad”. No matter how Police Minister Fikile Mbabula tries to spin the situation, his colleague is getting special treatment.

We urge the state prosecutors to not spare Deputy Minister Manana because of his status and the magistrate should throw the book at him.

UDEMWO believes that gender equality lies in transforming the balance of power between men and women and therefore urges all women to continue to campaign for our rights. Women, shout to the rafters that we are not the convenient punching bags or the sex slaves of some immoral men. Gone are the days where women endured abuse at the hands of their male counterparts, but they had no voice.