Bathabile Dlamini Picture: Ntswe Mokoena/DOC/GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC Women's League's young women desk on Tuesday lambasted the TotalShutDown movement accusing its organisers of being obsessed with targeting the league and its president Bathabile Dlamini ahead of government's conference on gender-based violence next month.

The league was responding to TotalShutDown organisers' Monday media statement on the Timothy Omotoso rape trial in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, which Dlamini attended and held a press conference thereafter. TotalShutDown accused Dlamini and the ANCWL of ''political posturing and covert electioneering campaigning'' and undermining the fight against gender-based violence. 

ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba said the TotalShutDown group has degenerated to being anti-ANCWL and making Dlamini ''their scapegoat''.

''They have made it their core business to victimise and humiliate president Bathabile Dlamini since they entered the space as a group. They seek to derive strength in insulting and rubbishing the ANCWL. It is difficult to understand why a group which confesses itself to be pro-women, finds it so easy to be petty amidst a case that must unite all women,'' Matuba said in a statement. 

The two organisations have been at loggerheads over anything concerning women and girls' rights. During the countrywide marches against gender-based violence organised by TotalShutDown in August, the ANCWL opted not to join any of the marches and instead marched alone to ANC's Luthuli House headquarters in downtown Johannesburg. 

Matuba accused TotalShutDown of ''factionalising'' the upcoming gender violence summit set for two days in November.

''This same group has highly factionalised the preparations of the government gender-based violence summit. We have raised our concerns officially with the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa and await feedback in this regard. It is unfortunate that this grouping, whose initial posture was to rally against gender-based violence with all their limitations has now degenerated to being an anti ANCWL group surprisingly praising ANC men and specifically targeting president Dlamini as their scapegoat in everything,'' Matuba said.

''We refuse to be drawn into a petty battle with a woman grouping when patriarchy is arrogantly silencing women who want to speak out against the men who abuse them. Ours is to give violated women confidence and encourage them to speak out against rape, rape culture, gender-based violence and patriarchy. We are with them and we remain unshaken.'' 

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African News Agency (ANA)