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Activist group seeks to force political parties to hand over harassment policies

This is part of the #NotOurLeaders campaign, launched during the 16 Days of Activism last year.

Posters for the #TotalShutdown march set for 1 August 2018. Picture: @WomenProtestSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Dullah Omar Institute's Women and Democracy Unit says it will send legal requests to compel political parties to hand over copies of their sexual harassment policies.

This is part of the #NotOurLeaders campaign, launched during the 16 Days of Activism last year.

The institute, Lawyers for Human Rights and gender violence specialist Lisa Vetten are leading the movement.

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.

It has requested copies of detailed internal sexual harassment policies and the mechanisms they have in place to address sexual misconduct.

The institute's Vivienne Mentor-Lalu says of the nine provincial legislatures, and the four biggest political parties, only the Western Cape and Eastern Cape legislatures responded.

“We want to make sure that women who come forward with complaints of sexual harassment are dealt with in a victim-centred manner and we don’t believe that’s the case at the moment.”

Vetten says that parties and provincial structures must back up their talk to end the scourge of gender-based crimes.

“Instead of making grand speeches whenever they need to, tell us what you spent, tell us what you did, enable us to ask questions and challenge you about what you claim you did.”

The campaign will be sending formal requests for the outstanding information to the structures who remain silent.

They will have 30 days to respond.

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