Women’s Month just proves it: Our leaders are trash

In an environment of systemic abuse, femicide and rampant inequality, there has never been much reason to celebrate Women’s Month. But rarely have we had so timeous a reminder of how this society is failing women. 

On Thursday the department of basic education vowed to take “the strongest action possible” against a male pupil who was caught on video “violently assaulting” a female pupil at a KwaZulu-Natal school.

The video, which was posted on Twitter by Tumi Sole of #CountryDuty fame, shows the female pupil being kicked and hit by a male pupil in a school uniform.

But it is another video that shocked the country this week that proves how little recourse there is for survivors of assault. 

It appeared to show the deputy minister of higher education, Mduduzi Manana, beating a woman at a club in Johannesburg — and the slumberous law enforcement response proves that the fish rots from the head.

Manana, who still claims he was provoked, is an extreme example of how men in positions of leadership fail women. He is not alone, however. There was President Jacob Zuma and the woman we still know best as Khwezi. There were also Jeff Radebe’s sexually explicit texts to a government employee.

None, including Manana, have suffered professional consequences.

What recourse can there be for a young pupil in KwaZulu-Natal when our leaders get away with similar behaviour? But then, Radebe could argue, why should he be held accountable when the president has unprotected sex with the daughter of a friend, putting the health of his other partners at risk?

And let’s not forget the president allowing his supporters to hound his rape accuser out of the country.

For all of the ANC Women’s League’s supposed influence, for all the lip service given in Parliament to women’s rights, for all the talk at rallies, the reality is: the men who lead us are complicit in the abuse of women in South Africa. #MenAreTrash. 

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

Locally built ventilators ready in two weeks as Covid cases...

The companies making the non-invasive devices, which will create jobs and are cheaper than other types, include car and diving manufacturers

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday