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Political parties urged to provide sexual harassment policies

The aim is to highlight inaction or inconsistent action of political parties to demonstrate the gap between political-speak and political actions on sexual violence.

FILE: A demonstrator at the official launch of the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence Against Women and Children Campaign. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The Dullah Omar Institute's Women and Democracy Unit is putting the spotlight on political parties requesting copies of their sexual harassment policies.

The institute, Lawyers for Human Rights, and gender violence specialist Lisa Vetten embarked on a campaign during the 16 Days of Activism last year called #NotOurLeaders.

The aim of the drive is to highlight inaction or inconsistent action of political parties to demonstrate the gap between political-speak and political actions on sexual violence.

The Dullah Omar Institute says the #NotOurLeaders campaign has written repeatedly to all nine provincial legislatures and four of the country's largest political parties requesting copies of their sexual harassment policies.

However, the responses were poor.

The institute's Vivienne Mentor-Lalu says the unit has only received policies from the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape so far.

“They say they take violence against women and women’s rights seriously, we want to see what do they have on paper so that we can actually see [whether] they are implementing it? Is it sufficient and how they handle complaints?”

Mentor-Lalu adds that throughout Women's Month, the campaign will send formal legal requests for the outstanding information to those political parties and provincial structures who remain silent.

They will have 30 days to respond.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)