Outrage over Bathabile Dlamini’s revelations

ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini appears defiant in the face of calls for her to apologise for controversial comments she made in defence of Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana.

Dlamini, who was taken to task for her comments that there were other senior government leaders who were worse culprits in women abuse than Manana, did not back down yesterday.

Addressing the ANCWL event in Ekurhuleni, she said: “If the organisation says everybody who has abused or beaten up [a woman] must be fired, it must be everyone. A law that is not consistent compromises us. It must come to an end no matter who you are.

“Any ANC leader who wants to lead the ANC with female members must straighten up. We are tired of being taken as fools. Every day we must talk about violence against women and children. The people who should be speaking are quiet.

“There is blood dripping in their bedrooms because they abuse their partners. We are tired, comrades. This is a warning to ANC men . if you want to be our leader, stop abusing women.”

Dlamini told the Sunday Times that Manana was not the only woman abuser in government and that there were senior officials who were far worse than him.

Her comments were met with outrage yesterday from several quarters.

“What message does it send out to women and young girls across the country? That this behaviour by a public representative should be ignored and left unpunished because there are ‘others’ who are also guilty,” said DA’s Hlomela Bucwa.

“This is a shameful statement by Dlamini – one that she should publicly apologise for. Furthermore, she should come forward and report the ‘others’ who are serial abusers. It is her legal duty to do so.”

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa sought to distance the party and its government from Dlamini’s comments by saying she was speaking on behalf of the ANCWL.

“Those views attributed to her do not represent the view of the ANC. She wasn’t speaking on behalf of the ANC,” Kodwa said.

Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu said she was disappointed in Manana’s conduct because she knew him as a respectful and hardworking person. She also called on the ANC to look into Dlamini’s comments.

Manana admitted to assaulting Mandisa Duma at Cubana nightclub in Fourways last week. He appeared in court on Thursday.

The IFP Women’s Brigade said that Dlamini’s remarks “render her unfit” to be minister of social development.

On social media, several users also tore into Dlamini with some labelling her “trash”. Celebrity Bonnie Mbuli said Dlamini was “essentially saying the women inside the ANC have it worse and have been exposed to worse”.

Commission for Gender Equality spokesman Javu Baloyi said they were investigating the matter on their own accord. “We felt it necessary for us to investigate the matter … issues of gender-based violence are important. We owe it to South Africans to investigate the matter.”

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