Johannesburg - The women's ministry welcomed on Thursday the investigation of the gift of a wife to SABC acting chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
“As the department responsible for the championing of the rights of women, we cannot sit back and allow women to be treated like secondary citizens with no acclaim to human rights,” spokeswoman Kenosi Machepa said.
A complaint about Motsoeneng's gift was lodged with the Commission for Gender Equality.
The Sowetan reported on Friday that traditional Venda chiefs gave Motsoeneng a wife, a cow, and a calf during his visit to their area. About 10 bare-breasted women were lined up in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, last Wednesday, and Motsoeneng was asked to choose one. He picked 22-year-old human resources management student Vanessa Mutswari.
“The use of women as gifts as if they were livestock is a serious regress and an insult to the gains of 20 years of democracy and freedom, particularly the contribution of women,” Machepa said.
The practice, under the guise of tradition and culture by a lobby group called Mudzi wa Vhurereli ha Vhavenda, was regrettable.
“Cultural and traditional practices are part of South Africa's rich heritage, but should not be abused to advance personal interests,” Machepa said.
Chiefs and traditional leaders needed to partner with government and support its efforts to anchor women and youth in the forefront of socio-economic transformation.
Mutswari was pictured in the Sowetan, smiling and standing bare-breasted next to Motsoeneng, behind the trailer on which the cow and calf had been loaded.
Motsoeneng received the gifts because he was “committed to his job and understands the strategic objectives of the SABC”.
In February, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report that found Motsoeneng's appointment irregular. His salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year. She found he misrepresented his qualifications, in particular that he had passed matric, to the SABC. - Sapa