Minister of Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, has declined to comment on Saturday’s brazen silent protest by four women who held up placards that referred to President Jacob Zuma’s 2006 rape trial, while he was addressing the nation on live television.
Speaking in Pretoria ahead of Tuesday’s National Women’s Day commemorations, Shabangu told journalists the unforeseen protest was an ”unfortunate situation” and was being managed by Cabinet’s security cluster.
“It’s an unfortunate situation which happened for us. This particular matter, as you know, is party of a matter which is being handled by the security cluster. They are dealing with it. So I am unable to speak on it,” Shabangu said.
The four feminist protesters who wore black clothing, were reportedly manning the EFF desk at the IEC results centre throughout the week.
Their placards read “10 years later”, “Remember Khwezi”, “I am one in 3,” and “Khanga”. They held them facing the audience with their backs to the president as he seemed oblivious to the protest while delivering his speech.
The protest angered the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), whose president Bathabile Dlamini blamed the IEC and demanded answers about the protest.
Zuma was acquitted of raping a then 31-year-old HIV-positive family friend at his home in Johannesburg in 2005.
For this year’s commemorations, Shabangu said Zuma will be delivering the national message at the 60th Anniversary of the National Women’s Day celebrations to be held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
“President Zuma will launch the Women’s Living Heritage Monument at Lillian Ngoyi Square (in Pretoria CBD) at 8am which tells the story about women’s contribution to the liberation struggle, it will #TellHerStory. The living heritage monument will be opened to the public on March 8, 2017,” said Shabangu.