ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini had to leave the #SandtonShutDown protest early after she was heckled by angry women who objected to the participation of the ANCWL in the protest saying the ruling party was failing women.
At the march, which took place in the Sandton City centre yesterday, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) promised to support the women’s cause and sponsor their fight against gender-based violence.
An estimated 1 000 women, more than 72 civil society organisations, members of the LGBTQI+ community and a large number of men joined forces to send a message against gender-based violence (GBV).
They called on all companies listed on the JSE to give 2% of their profit to address the crisis. The peaceful protest was also attended and addressed by high profile leaders including ANCWL’s Dlamini and a host of others from civil society.
Dlamini had to leave in a huff after she was shouted down by the protesters who told her that the “ANC does not have a place in this protest because it is the one failing women”.
They also said that the fact that she came wearing ANC colours showed she was pushing her organisation’s agenda.
But Dlamini defended herself and the league from the criticism: “As the president of the Women’s League I had to be here. It is not for any agenda but we are raising serious issues that affect women. We are tired of sexual harassment at work, sex for jobs, and sex for marks.
“There is money in the JSE and it must help to deal with issues that affect women.”
The majority of the women were dressed in black and, holding placards bearing varying messages, called for an end to the abuse of women and children. Some of the placards proclaimed “this is not a march it is a revolution, “No more bro code” and “How many times must we die before you stop killing us”.
“Change starts with the boy-child, we need to educate with love, not ostracize with hate,” said Raine Dunn, a mother who was also participating in the protest.
The march ended at the JSE and a memorandum was handed over to CEO Nicky Newton-King, who told the group she was unable to respond to their grievances immediately on behalf of the JSE-listed companies.
She promised to give the document to the organisation and provide feedback in seven days, but the protesters were not satisfied with her reply demanding her to reply on the spot. Zanele Morrison, JSE executive of corporate affairs and transformation, later came and spoke to the protesters’ head and promised that the JSE will be responding to their concerns.
“As a woman, I understand your call. We have not slept because of the issues you represent. The JSE have gone through the memorandum; we have committed to be the sponsor that you are asking for,” Morrison said.
She added that some of the JSE employees participated in the protest match and that showed the organisation supported the cause.
During the protests, some of the women prevented male drivers from passing by. They asked them to park and get out of their vehicles and join the protest, while others shouted “we don’t have space for men, not today”. They later blockaded the streets.
“This is what democracy looks like; this is our way of crying to say please respect us and apologise,” said one protester.