Government reiterates support for GBV initiatives

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, has refuted allegations that government is politicising issues of gender-based violence. 

The allegation, the Ministry said in a statement, emanates from remarks made by the #TheTotalShutDown movement following a media briefing by the Minister in Port Elizabeth on Monday. Dlamini held a briefing on the sidelines of the Timothy Omotoso trial. 

In a statement issued this week, #TheTotalShutDown raised concerns of “blurred lines between party and State”, “political posturing” and “covert electioneering”.

The statement further alleges that the Minister “made no mention of government’s plans for the forthcoming National Gender Summit” on 1 and 2 November 2018.

In response to these allegations, the Minister refuted the latter, saying she had addressed the matter. 

“The Minister wishes to remind the nation that the media briefing was attended in her capacity as the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women. The Minister, on behalf of government, was supported by members of civil society, the faith-based sector, the private sector, academics and feminist activists.

“The briefing was attended by the media and other members of society, including activists from #TheTotalShutdown,” the Ministry said. 

Dlamini, the Ministry said, lends her support and concurrence with the statement that “we are in a state of national crisis when it comes to gender based violence and that requires coherent messaging from government and all stakeholders”.


“The Minister urges all women of South Africa to learn from history, particularly the Federation for South African Women (FEDSAW), the UDF Women’s Congress, and the Women’s National Coalition (WNC). These formations changed the course of women’s movement activism in the history of South Africa.

“Their main strategy was uniting against patriarchy, despite their contrasting subjective positions across class, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and geography,” Ministry spokesperson Mandla Tshabalala said in the statement. 

For their success, these formations refused to be the mouthpiece of patriarchy, he said. 

“No women’s movement that attacks women instead of patriarchy will succeed in ending gender-based violence. 

“Senior male members of the ANC and other political formations in government have never been accused by #TheTotalShutdown of political posturing or covert electioneering. However, whenever women rise in strength, it becomes as Mama Winnie Mandela once noted, that men dominate women through the agency of women themselves. 

“It is tragic to witness women attacking other women in the guise of women’s emancipation. On 1 August, the group was hostile and refused to engage with other members of South African politics and governance. Now they are attacking the Women’s Ministry to fight personal agendas.

“We salute women that are committed to women’s emancipation, who are not driven by the urge for the destruction of the Women’s Ministry,” Tshabalala said. 

Despite the antagonism of #TheTotalShutdown, Dlamini will be attending the National Gender Summit and will participate fully, said the Ministry. –