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ANCWL slams ANC Mpumalanga for playing politics with women’s bodies in rape case

Leader Bathabile Dlamini says the ANC needs to do more than simply speak out against gender-based violence.

FILE: ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - While the African National Congress (ANC) in Mpumalanga on Thursday rescinded its decision to reinstate a rape accused member of its provincial executive committee (PEC), the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) criticised the provincial party for playing politics with women’s bodies.

The ANC made the about-turn on Thursday evening, saying that it had noted the social discontent caused by what it described as “leaked internal discussions”.

The former MEC, who cannot be named to protect his children, is accused of raping his two eight-year-old daughters. He is currently out on bail.

ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini said women’s bodies were being used in political battles.

“People use our bodies to [make] gentlemen’s agreements at the expense of women,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini added that the party could not afford to only speak about ending gender-based violence and should act.

“We cannot be told on the [one] hand that we are together in the fight against violence against women, children, and femicide, while on the other hand being faced by a lack of action,” she said.

ALSO READ: Bail conditions relaxed for Mpumalanga ANC member accused of raping daughters

Previously, the PEC argued for him to continue party activities while the ANC at the national level dealt with the issue of telling members to step aside.

Following outrage from some within the ANC, the party’s secretary in Mpumalanga, Lindi Ntshalintshali, said that the former MEC would remain on suspension.

ALSO READ: Mpumalanga ANC ‘insensitive’ for reinstating rape-accused member - Duarte

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte told Eyewitness News on Thursday that the outrage against the decision was justified.

“You also are a bit insensitive when you take the decision on the eve of the launch of the 16 Days of Activism [Against Gender-based Violence]. You are saying to the ANC and the government: ‘One of your primary objectives, we don’t respect’,” Duarte said.

Ntshalintshali said that the party would now wait for the matter to be concluded in court before taking any further decisions in relation to the former MEC.

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