Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is a cultural chauvinist who thinks of women as people who should be submissive to men, and not treated as equal partners, the Economic Freedom Fighters said on Sunday.
“President Zuma also has proven that what comes to his mind first when he sees women is marriage...,” said EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
The Star newspaper reported on Friday that Zuma said he would marry a Venda woman if he was not already married to his four wives because they “even lie down to show respect for other people”.
According to the report, he emphasised the importance of respect while addressing hundreds of people at Impendle in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands earlier this week
Zuma said young women and men had to exercise self-respect and respect for others.
“When I was in Venda recently, I was so impressed to see how people there express respect for other people,” Zuma reportedly said.
“A woman would clap her hands and even lie down to show respect.”
The president said he had been impressed and that, were he not already married, he would go to Venda to look for a woman.
“How do you explain the reality that out of the so many aspects of the gathering he attended in Vhembe region, the only aspect that remains in President Zuma's mind is possibility of marriage?” asked Ndlozi.
“This notion is entirely problematic and reinforces many gender stereotypes and gender inequalities practices that are ingrained in South African society.”
He said women should be thought of and treated as equal partners, not some submissive marriage candidates who should always kneel down and lie on the floor for men and their husbands.
“What attainment of political freedom and establishment of a constitutional order means is that all people are equal irrespective of gender and should be treated with respect.”
He said the EFF demanded an immediate apology from Zuma for his sexism. - Sapa