Month: March 2019

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Media Statement: Human Rights Day: Looking Back, Moving Forward 21 March 2019

MEDIA STATEMENT: HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: LOOKING BACK, MOVING FORWARD 21 March 2019

Equality is one of the substantive rights enshrined in our Constitution, which is praised for being one of the most progressive constitutions in the world in terms of socio-economic and human rights. It was a struggle for equality which ignited the Sharpeville protests 59 years ago, of which we remember, and honour, the 69 protestors who were killed in the Sharpeville massacre. The right to Equality provides that no person may be unfairly discriminated against based on sex, race, gender, sexual orientation etc. Today, 59 years after this incident, and over 20 years into our democracy, despite a progressive and comprehensive constitution which should protect us, this sense of equality is still not felt. Many people face grave violations of their rights, especially womxn, who face significant amounts of violence, abuse and discrimination on a daily basis. Additionally, while there has been progress in the legal system with regard to womxn’s rights, there are still major problems with womxn’s access to legal services. It is these dynamics which informed the very formation of the Women’s Legal Centre 20 years ago.

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Media Statement: Stop the Silencing of Womxn Victims 18 March 2019

MEDIA STATEMENT: STOP THE SILENCING OF WOMXN VICTIMS 18 March 2019

On 13 March 2019, Gugu Ncube staged a one-womxn protest outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Ncube’s placard read:

“President Ramaphosa: 1) The police are used to intimidate, threaten and harass me. 2) I was raped, sexually harassed by Shibambu Mhlava at UNISA. 3) I spoke out, they lied that I had resigned. #Produce my resignation. 4)CCMA Commissioner took bribe from the perpetrator. “

This was in response to alleged sexual harassment and rape suffered at the hands of her employer while working for Unisa Centre for Early Childhood Education, as well as additional threats and intimidation she faced from SAPS. While protesting semi-naked outside the Union Buildings, Gugu was arrested by SAPS on the basis of public indecency. In videos circulating online, the undignified and unnecessarily violent way in which SAPS treated Ncube can be seen.

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