DA’s silence and failure to distance itself from its MP Glynnis Breytenbach’s distasteful remarks towards acting public protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka could barely come as a surprise for a party that saw nothing wrong with its leader’s disparaging comments about his ex-wife.
Instead the DA’s Women’s Network jumped to John Steenhuisen’s defence when he used words we refuse to repeat in this editorial out of respect for those affected.
A party that takes the plight of women in this country seriously wouldn’t have hesitated in reprimanding him and demanding that he withdraw his statement and apologise.
Breytenbach vitriolic attack on Gcaleka last week insinuating that her ascendance to the top was a result of her being in a relationship with her boss while at the National Prosecuting Authority, and the DA’s failure to act against her, confirms everything you need to know about this party.
Even more shocking, yet not unexpected, is the fact that women MPs in the DA were among those who walked out of parliamentary debate in support of Breytenbach who had been ejected from the House.
History will remember them as politicians who not only could not stand up for themselves and their views, but as individuals who rather chose the side of the party even when it is morally wrong to do so.
In future, you may hear them shouting for other parties to vote with their conscience while they could not defend another woman from being attacked.
We applaud organisations such as the Legal Practice Council and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) for denouncing Breytanbach’s remarks and calling them derogatory and stereotypical.
Nadel aptly puts it when they say: “In a country striving to eliminate sexism and discrimination against women, especially in senior positions within the public and private sectors, such comments are unacceptable and regressive. Nadel firmly believes in gender equality and condemns any form of discrimination or prejudice against women in the legal profession or any other field.”
With next year’s elections fast approaching, the DA cannot be entrusted with the well-being of the country if it undermines the well-being of the nation’s women.