For The People

Black Thursdays at Premier’s office

The employees of the Premier’s office held a black Thursday in honour of all those who have died in the hands of their abusers. What was meant to be a mourning time, turned out to be a photoshoot session.

Manager of the office of women status, Ellen Lovan explains that since the launch of black Thursday the office observes it to raise awareness and also mourn the deaths of women and children as a result of gender-based violence.

“Today we decided to call our colleagues to the front of the building to mourn with the nation, not forgetting our province too. A 14 year old was killed in Upington and in the John Taole Gaetsewe District, on the 5th of August, a five year old was raped. We are saying as an office, that enough is enough because it seems like men have raged a war on women and we cannot keep quiet, fold our arms and say it has not happened to me. Who is next? I might be next in my office. What happened to Uyinene clearly shows us that men don’t have a conscious on where they perform such deeds. Policy is not enough, we need action because currently the government does not have a budget of fighting gender based violence”.

One thing she has noticed is that awareness is raised to the wrong gender. To solidify that statement, the presence of men at the Black Thursday honouring was very disappointing.

“The presence of men here is very disappointing which makes you wonder if it doesn’t affect them. Even in the direct Office of the Premier, the senior managers do not attend nor honour the day”.

Mbuyuselo Mguzulwa, an employee at the Office of the Premier, expressed that it’s a good initiative.

“It’s a good initiative because we are actually living in the last days as these things have been prophesied in the Bible”.

He explains the idiom which says you strike a woman; you strike a rock.

“In my culture, the phrase ‘you strike a woman you strike a rock’, means that the rock itself is a man so when you strike a woman, men are supposed to be affected by it. Men are protectors, we are the ones who are supposed to protect women when such incidents happened. If ever men take the back seat that means, we are not concerned. It is time that we as men support our women and children. We need to return to our cultures because they simply state that we are to protect and provide for our women and children”.

This comes after Uyinene Mrwetyana, a first-year film and media studies student, had been killed in the post office the same day she disappeared – Saturday, August 24.

Mrwetyana had gone to enquire about a parcel on the day of her disappearance. The electricity had been off and she was asked to return later.

She was lured by the employee who offered to assist her, the accused allegedly raped her. According to News24, Mrwetyana fought back, and it is believed that she kicked the accused in the genitals.

The accused allegedly knocked her out. When she regained consciousness, a scale was allegedly used to bludgeon her as she screamed for help. Her blood was found in the post office and in the boot of the employee’s car.

As the nation mourned this young lady’s death, more women and families spoke out on social media about abuse incidents they have endured. One anonymous tweet under the @DbnSurvivors  Twitter handle ousted the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr. Zamani Saul. The tweet claimed that he had raped and forced a woman to terminate her pregnancy, and that there is another young woman who is currently raising his daughter. Saul denied the claims and reported the said handle to the authorities.

“The allegations have been labelled as a “lousy attempt to denigrate the integrity of the Premier”, by Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, “Saul has always been an ardent advocate for the rights of women and more specifically, the rights of children and the disgusting allegations are dismissed with the urgency and contempt it deserves,” Thomas-Abrahams added.

The provincial ANC issued a statement in support of the Premier who also holds the position of chairperson within the provincial ANC.

“We have encouraged the provincial chairperson to explore all available legal means to expose those faceless people running such malicious campaigns. We will not be deterred in our task of forging unity and building the organization,” the statement read.

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