Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga briefs South Africans on the country’s readiness to start the 2021 academic year. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga briefs South Africans on the country’s readiness to start the 2021 academic year. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Activists say Motshekga caused immeasurable damage with 'educated man won’t rape' comment

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Feb 19, 2021

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Cape Town - Anti-gender-based violence activists and civil society organisations have demanded that the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga undergo training following her remarks that “an educated man won’t rape”.

Some have even called for her removal.

The former ANC Women’s League president said: “This government has prioritized education because it knows that it is only through education that we can deal with some of the challenges that are here, because an educated man won’t rape akere (right).

“Or do they, I thought they need to be a bit civilised not to do certain things. Now I am disappointed.

“But they don’t do other things, neh? [They do],” said Motshekga.

She added: “So my theory that the more educated you are, the more sophisticated you are, the less you get involved in wrong things because you can look after yourself, you can look after your family, you can look after your environment”.

Motshekga, who made the comment during an address to pupils at a high school in Pretoria on Monday, has responded to criticism, saying her remarks should not be taken out of the context of educating children to “become better people”.

Founding director of Fight Back SA Nicole Mirkin said the damage the minister had caused was immeasurable.

“Her shocking opinion, which she shared with impressionable young minds, would denote that educated men don’t rape women – putting every single girl child at risk with the belief that a man who has an education will not cause them harm or abuse them sexually.

“This is compounded by the fact that she has alienated every single uneducated man who fights for women's rights in this country, by assuming that a man who has not been afforded an education, is one that is likely to rape women,” she said.

The Great People of South Africa Chairwoman Zintle Khobeni said, that Motshekga’s remarks did not contribute to the fight against gender based violence.

“We would like her to provide clarity on how come the Halāwat-ul-Qurān Haafith Academy school principal is appearing at the Wynberg Magistrates court on charges of sexual violence against two minors. What does she think of someone who is highly educated and was employed by her department to be implicated in such?

“The minister must be held accountable and we demand that President Cyril Ramaphosa must provide leadership and remove her from office,” Khobeni said.

Motshekga previously expressed concern at the media commentary on her comments.

“The comments were made in relation to gender-based violence,” she said.

“Rape is indeed about power, hence the department has programmes to educate the boy child to appreciate the importance of how to deal with power relations between men and women from a young age.

“Therefore, my remarks must not be taken out of the context of educating children to develop them to become better people.

“Men need to be educated about how to deal with power, patriarchy and negative or toxic masculinity. Educating men about power relations is also important in the fight against rape,” she said.

The Call to Action Collective spokesperson Mandisa Khanyile said the Minister’s remarks demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of the complexities of gender-based violence, and the driving factors of rape in the societies.

“Contrary to the minister’s claim, rape is not about the level of education of the perpetrator, but about power, dominance and a particular set of behaviours.The minister’s remarks display a lack of understanding of the potential value of education in fighting the scourge of gender based violence. It is statements like the minister’s that perpetuate rape culture where survivors are shamed into silence and are often not believed when they report such crimes. But, education can be used to disrupt patriarchal and unconstitutional values if it is led by those with an understanding of its potential to do so,” she said.

The Collective demanded that the minister issue a statement acknowledging her transgression, and called on the department to produce a plan on combating gender-based violence and its underlying values through the education system.

Additional reporting by Sihle Mlambo.

Cape Argus

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