Health And Welfare

Soul City Institute works to raise the voices of young female voters

The top four political parties were put to the feminist test last night, in a lively #YVote4U Hot Seat event. Moderated by Kaya FM Uncaptured presenters, Kgomotso Matsunyane and Ndumiso Ngcobo, the panel of party representatives responded to pertinent questions from the audience on womxn representation, empowerment and rights.

 The Hot Seat event was launched by the Soul City Institute for Social Justice (SCI), as part of its #YVote4U campaign in partnership with #TheTotalShutdown, Corruption Watch and Country Duty. The campaign aims to enable young womxn to use their vote wisely in the upcoming elections, providing an opportunity to examine how each political party acts on its Constitutional obligations to achieve substantive gender equality.

“Despite being lauded for having the best constitution in the world, the womxn of South Africa do not enjoy their freedom. South African womxn and non-gender conforming persons face discrimination and violence,” says Lebogang Ramafoko, SCI CEO. “Many do not report cases of violence and abuse for fear of secondary victimisation. Many workplaces, including some of the political parties do not have sexual harassment policies.”

“Womxn are the majority voters and yet our political parties get away with allowing and in some instances aiding discrimination and violence against womxn, this cannot be allowed to continue. The womxn of South Africa demand a government that takes their needs seriously and has concrete plans to address them,” she says.

The event dealt with issues such as gender mainstreaming, gender-based violence, sexual health and reproductive rights, womxn representation, corruption and land rights.

Some of the most interesting questions and answers from the event are outlined below:

  • “The conviction rate of rapists is 4-6%, the ANC is sustaining patriarchy by saying they only outcast convicted rapists. It is your courts that are not convicting rapists,” Mandisa Mashego from EFF on issues of patriarchy in South Africa.
  • “Use your campaigning t-shirt money to buy and invest in proper toilets!” Rozanne Williams from Soul City’s Raising Voices of Young Women and Girls Project.
  • “Womxn are leaving the DA because they are discriminated against,” Mmaneo Onnica Moloi from ANC on track records of sexual harassment.
  • “The current constitution allows for exploitation and rape,” Siviwe Gwarube from DA on the legalisation of sex work and sexual reproductive rights.
  • “How will parties work toward ending patriarchy? The DA and ANC must save our time by claiming victories. It’s been 25-years and it’s only got worse,” Rikky Minyuku from #Shayisfuba Collective.
  • “I’ve heard the ANC talking about the budget and moving money around. The money allocated to poorer areas is a lot higher than what we see, how will the government fix this?” Mobaneng Zondo from Soul City’s Raising Voices of Young Women and Girls Project.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the conversation that took place today. Gender equity is one of the most difficult topics to approach and we did so with real substance,” says Ramafoko. “As feminist womxn, we have to have these hard conversations that are long overdue. The era of rhetoric and lack of political will towards ending gender inequality is over,” she concludes.

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