Opposition parties take ANC to task for not doing more to protect women

While ANC speakers used Tuesday’s National Assembly debate on Women’s Day to defend the ruling party’s record, opposition lawmakers slammed the lack of progress.

The National Assembly of South Africa on 22 May 2019. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC) has come under fire from opposition parties for failing to do enough to protect women and to ensure the realisation of their equal rights.

While ANC speakers used Tuesday’s National Assembly debate on Women’s Day to defend the ruling party’s record, opposition lawmakers slammed the lack of progress.

The theme for this afternoon’s debate was "Generation equality – realising women’s rights for an equal future".

The ANC’s Moleboheng Modise insisted that the party was at the forefront of promoting the rights of women, but opposition speakers sharply disagreed. It did not help that a male ANC MP was accused of trying to undermine the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s Nazley Sharif while she was relating her experiences of unwanted male attention, even as an MP.

The Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF)’s Veronica Mente spoke for many on the opposition benches when she told the House that the concerns of women "fall on deaf ears" and called for far-reaching legislative reforms.

"We’re here again to make a hollow noise about our commitment to the emancipation of women in this country, as it has become tradition in this country every August in this House. We've just witnessed how a man can undermine a woman right inside the chamber."

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)’s Magdalena Hlengwa: "We can’t sit here today and talk about generation equality while women in our country are being slaughtered like animals."

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