NCOP Deputy Chair apologises to survivors of GBV

Sylvia Lucas says gender-based violence cannot be used for political mileage.

National Council of Provinces Deputy Chair Sylvia Lucas has apologised to survivors of gender-based violence for how the issue was used during a joint sitting of Parliament.

Lucas was taking part in the second day of the debate on the State of the Nation Address.

On the first day of the debate, on Tuesday, accusations were made against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP, Julius Malema, that he had been abusing his wife.

While he denied it, Malema had accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of having done so to his late wife, Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.

Lucas says the issue cannot be used for political mileage. She says, “We saw GBV abused for political point-scoring. Every day women and children face heavy onslaught of violence and feticide. This cannot be reduced to politicking for populace and controversy. We need to apologise to everyone, in particular survivors of gender-based violence for what transpired here.”

The spat between Mamabolo and Malema in Parliament has sparked outrage from various quarters. They’re being accused of using Gender-Based Violence to score cheap political points.

Gender activist, Lisa Vetten has accused politicians of trivialising gender-based violence.

Vetten says, “We are trivialising gender violence. I think a more serious concern is that this year, we heard the announcement during the President’s State of the Nation Address last week. There is a whole range of legislative amendments that come to parliament. The kind of conduct that we saw yesterday (Tuesday), showed that the MPs’ grasp of the issues is very shallow. I’m very worried that when the legislation comes before them, they will not be informed based on the issues. They will use it again as a populist agenda and will use a whole lot of useless rhetoric in order to demonstrate that they are not at grips with the issues.”

“We cannot have MPs behaving as they did yesterday, because again it shows that they don’t care about these issues deeply,” she adds.

Mamabolo has taken to Facebook to say he will not retract any statements he made in Parliament about the EFF leader. Mamabolo says he is simply honouring the decision made during a joint sitting of parliament to expose any acts of gender-based violence.

The House descended into chaos due to this, leading to Malema being asked to leave the chamber.

The leader of the Al Jama-ah party in parliament Ganief Hendricks has apologised to the Malema couple that their dignity had been harmed during the debate of the State of the Nation Address.

Hendricks says the spouses of MPs should not be under attack. “I want to apologise to Mrs malema as a member of this house for harming her dignity yesterday (Tuesday). Spouses of members of the 6th parliament should not be on the radar.”

Now, the squabble could play out in the courts, as Malema and his wife Mantoa, are planning to sue Mamabolo for R 1 million each over the allegations.