GBV lobby asks president to take action against Godongwana

GBV lobby asks president to take action against Godongwana

Anti-gender-based violence organisation Wise4Afrika has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against finance minister Enoch Godongwana regarding sexual assault allegations levelled against him.

In a letter addressed to Ramaphosa on Thursday, director Brenda Madumise-Pajibo said National Treasury, as a department that plays a role in funding strategies to deal with gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide, cannot be led by a person who is implicated in a sexual harassment case.

A case of sexual assault was opened with the Mpumalanga police last week after a massage therapist accused Godongwana of touching her inappropriately while she was giving him a massage in his hotel room in the Kruger National Park where he was on holiday with his wife.

Godongwana has since denied the allegations against him.

Madumise-Pajibo said Godongwana should not be treated differently from all alleged perpetrators of GBV and should face the full might of the law.

”Dear Mr President, you have called for a second summit on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) under the theme: Accountability, Acceleration and Amplification NOW.

“The ministry of finance’s participation in the planned summit is crucial and critical in ensuring appropriate funding levels for the national strategic plan on GBVF and it can only do so with a political head that fully appreciates that sexual harassment, violation and assault is not complimentary, it is not humorous or unavoidable but that it is a form of violence and abuse of power; this power should not be a gift of protection to the privileged,’’ said Madumise-Pajibo.

”We cannot demand accountability from others when those charged with the responsibility of discharging their constitutional responsibilities stand accused of sexual violence and remain in office without taking accountability for their act(s) of sexual violence and abuse of power.

“Minister Godongwana’s denials and minimisation of sexual violence carry more cultural capital than the voice and the account of the abused woman in this case. We cannot accelerate and amplify gender violence interventions and strategies to end the scourge if we are selective in our outrage based on who the alleged perpetrator of the violence is,’’ she said.

Madumise-Pajibo urged Ramaphosa to remove Godongwana from his cabinet if he is serious about ending the scourge of GBV.

”Likewise, we cannot amplify and accelerate the involvement of the entire populace in ending the scourge of gender-based violence if we do not end impunity, normalisation, tolerance and minimisation of the harms inflicted.

“Lastly, we remind you of the first demand from the 2018 #TheTotalShutdown, in addition to a summit, also demanded: ‘a commitment never to appoint any individual who has been implicated or minimises the causes and consequences of GBVF to cabinet or to lead a state institution.’ We therefore await your leadership by taking action against minister Godogwana, lest your silence and failure is construed as condoning gender-based violence,’’ said Madumise-Pajibo.

kokam@sowetan.co.za

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