ANC Press Release: ALLEGED “SEXIST” REMARKS AGAINST DA’S MAZIBUKO

13 June 2013

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip has noted the media statement by the
Deputy Chief Whip of the DA, regarding her intention to write to ANC
Chief Whip Dr Motshekga to complain about what she describes as ³sexists
and chauvinistic² attacks in the House against DA parliamentary leader
Lindiwe Mazibuko by ANC MPs Buti Manamela and John Jeffery.
Comrade Jeffery is alleged to have said ³Šwhile the Hon Mazibuko may be
a person of substantial weight, her stature is questionable². Manamela
is alleged to have questioned her sense of fashion during yesterday¹s
debate.

We are aware that a point of order has been recorded against Comrade
Jeffery¹s remark and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly is
scheduled to rule on whether it was parliamentary or not.

We understand from Jeffery¹s¹ explanation that although his reference to
Mazibuko during the debate on the Parliament budget vote was a pun, it
had more to do with her influence and power associated with the position
she holds than her physical weight. Jeffery has carefully reflected on
the ambiguity of the statement and accepts that they it may have been
understood to refer to Mazibuko¹s physical outlook. In this regard, he
will unconditionally withdraw the statement when the presiding officer
gives him an opportunity to do so in the House and apologise to
Mazibuko. We commend him for this voluntary decision. Having dedicated
his life to the struggle for non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South
Africa, Jeffery finds the claim that his remarks were intended to be
sexist and chauvinistic insulting and mischievous. The same pun could
have been directed at even a male in similar position as Mazibuko.

Similarly, we reject the claim that Manamela¹s reference to Mazibuko¹s
dress style at yesterday¹s debate on the presidency budget vote was
sexist or chauvinistic. The Multiparty Chief Whips Forum earlier this
year emphasised the importance of Members of Parliament, whether male of
female, dressing in a manner befitting of the decorum of the House. We
have no desire of playing fashion police in this institution, however,
the inappropriate manner in which Mazibuko was dressed yesterday showed
total lack of respect to the debate and the decorum of the House. As the
leader of the opposition, Mazibuko ought to lead by example in ensuring
that her MPs conduct themselves decently and civilly in this
institution. There is nothing ³sexist² or ³chauvinistic² about this
principle.

We are pleased that Jeffery is intending to voluntary withdraw his
remarks against Mazibuko. We challenge the DA to equally show its
commitment to the rules of orderly and civil parliamentary engagement by
calling on its leaders in the Western Cape legislature to withdraw their
abusive, offensive and sexist language against ANC MPLs. In March this
year, Western Cape premier Helen Zille referred to ANC MPL Zodwa Magwaza
as an ³elephant² while former DA leader Theuns Botha once likened ANC
MPL Lynne Brown to a ³hippopotamus². Both these DA leaders are yet to
withdraw and apologise their remarks. The DA¹s outcry rings hallow
considering its deafening silence when such abuses were directed at ANC
MPLs by its representatives in the legislature.

We remain firm in our stance that robust and lively debates, which are
the cornerstone of a democratic parliament, should always be conducted
civilly and orderly.

ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE ANC CHIEF WHIP

Enquiries
Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930

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