ANC not immune to patriarchal attitudes – Ramaphosa

Johannesburg – Courts must make ensure that cases of abuse against women and children must be handled to finality, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday in Soweto.

Ramaphosa was addressing a hall filled with African National Congress women supporters during the OR Tambo lecture. He said courts must be deal with cases related to women abuse vigorously until it is concluded and the perpetrators convicted.

Ramaphosa endorsed suggestions made by South African Democratic Union (Sadtu) earlier in the day. He marched to the Moroka Police station in Kliptown along with Sadtu members to handover a memorandum of demands.

“Sadtu came up with proposals that have to do with how police must deal with issues of women and children. When a woman comes to police station to report a case of abuse, she must not be turned back,” he said.

On Thursday, Higher Education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg on two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Equal opportunities

He was granted R5 000 bail. The charges stem from a video posted on social media which shows Manana allegedly assaulting a woman.

Ramaphosa spoke of the need to ensure that women had equal opportunities in the ANC as well as in government and the private sector.

He said while the ANC under its former president OR Tambo had made great strides in the emancipation of women, more needed to be done.

“Tambo led the support of the highest office in our movement to the struggles that were fought by women over many years for equal representation and due respect. He challenged patriarchal attitude of men for many years. Women have a duty to liberate us as men from outdated concept and attitudes about the place and role,” he said.

Ramaphosa admitted that previously the ANC’s approach to gender equality was outdated and it was not as progressive as it is now.

He said in the ANC there was a “glass ceiling” for women.

“Many of the key positions in the ANC were dominated by men. Women were held back. They were put in the back; all they did was secretarial work and so forth.”

He said Tambo took the ANC by the scruff of its neck to recognise and respect the role of women in the ANC. “It is for this reason that today we thank Tambo for having been a visionary leader,” he said.

”We are not immune to the patriarchal attitudes that exist in society. Generally men are still seen as though they are far better than women,” he said.

“It is a cause for concern that despite improvements in educational qualifications women still occupy few senior positions in government; even fewer in the private sector.”

Top positions

The employment equity figures only show that only 2% of women occupy top positions while only 33% are in senior leadership positions, he said.

Ramaphosa said more than half of those positions are occupied by white women and argued that this needed to change if we were to build a non-racial society.

Ramaphosa is contesting for ANC presidency against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She has been endorsed by the ANC Women’s League.

Many in the ANC have said that the party was ready for a female leader. During the local elections in 2016, the ANCWL complained that women did not receive equal representation in council lists.