DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and DA parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen march against gender-based violence in Tafelsig. Photo: Lalinka Mahote/ African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – The DA’s canvassing of votes during a gender-based violence (GBV) march has been labelled a desperate and shameful last-ditch effort to rally support for by-elections in three wards.

On Tuesday, provincial DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and DA parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen joined a march against GBV in Tafelsig using the same march to canvas for votes for a ward by-election today.

Children’s rights organisation Molo Songololo lambasted the party, with director Patric Solomons saying men usually dominated political parties and drove the patriarchal system.

“They usually get involved in marches and other activities to score political points and manipulate and deceive voters. Using GBV as a platform to campaign for votes is shameless, especially if you have done nothing to fight it among your own, in government, business, unions or the general public. It is shameful,” said Solomons.

Madikizela on Tuesday said GBV had a political element.

“Let’s not be naive. Failure to convict the perpetrators is a political issue, shortage of rape kits is a political issue, shortage of police officers is a political issue, when we experience blackouts that is a political issue, I can go on and on.

John Steenhuisen, DA leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, during the DA march against gender-based violence march in Tafelsig. Video: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any political party raising this issue of gender-based violence during their campaign.”

Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron said GBV united the majority of South Africans, of all genders, to protest and to demand action.

“South Africans and politicians across the county have acted in unison and across party political lines. It is offensive, cynical and immature for the DA to use this very serious national concern for a by-election campaign event. While the country works to unite against GBV the DA seeks to appropriate the issue for political gain,” said Herron.

Ward 19 will be contested by seven candidates while Ward 82 will be contested by 10 candidates. Both wards were previously represented by the DA and became vacant as a result of the councillors’ deaths.

Ward 4 will also host a by-election today contested by six candidates following the previous councillor’s resignation.

Cape Times