Gugu Ncube — the Zimbabwean woman who was arrested during a “naked protest” at the Union Buildings in Pretoria — appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, facing charges of public indecency.
Ncube claims to be the daughter of prominent Zimbabwean politician Welshman Ncube — but the opposition Movement for Democratic Change politician, who is also a lawyer and a former cabinet minister in Zimbabwe, reportedly denies paternity.
At her Union Buildings protest on Wednesday, Ncube, wearing only her panties and a piece of cloth slung around her neck, claimed to have been victimised and dismissed from her position at the University of South Africa after she reported a sexual harassment case against her boss.
The case was postponed to April 10, pending further investigations.
Advocate Khanyisile Dhlakama, for Ncube, questioned why police had not arrested a crowd of Khoisan protesters who have been camped at the Union Buildings last year, demanding to meet President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The Khoisan are only covered in [animal hide] skin — only their private parts, the same way Gugu was covered. They were however not charged. They were in the same place. We want to know why they were not charged, and why a single woman protesting peacefully is being charged with public indecency,” said Dhlakama.
Several activists and political parties were at court on Thursday, supporting Ncube.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) provincial chairperson Mandisa Mashego said issues of sexual harassment and abuse continue to escalate in South Africa.
“To say we are disappointed would be wrong because this is what we expected from the State. Most gender-based violence [victims] experience what we experienced today. Our issue as the EFF is that she has a rape case against a senior staff member at Unisa Sunnyside and that rape case is not being followed through by the police. The police have harassed her for almost a year which is what led to her protest yesterday,” said Mashego.
“Our second issue is the violence she experienced yesterday at the hands of the police as a protester. Today she is in court as a perpetrator, and look at how quickly she gets processed. There is gender-based violence against black women, perpetrated by the State. A protester gets brought to court swiftly, but the rapists never see their day in court. They have kicked her out of the police station.”
Mashego said patriarchy was “deeply embedded” in South African society.
– African News Agency (ANA)