Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma’s acceptance speech of the municipal elections results was overshadowed by four young women who staged a silent protest on live television on Saturday.
At the back of the hall at the Electoral Commission of SA’s results operations centre in Pretoria, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula came under fire from African National Congress national executive committee (NEC) members Water Affairs and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu. Zulu accused Mapisa-Nqakula of a security breach.
“You must answer for this [protest]… you are in charge of security…!” Zulu shouted at Mapisa-Nqakula, oblivious to spectators around them. Mokonyane pulled back Zulu who wanted to march to the podium and remove the young women. Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini joined the fracas and urged them to keep quite and not shout.
Zuma stopped talking, said “thank you”, and left the podium. The women were manhandled and dragged to the front of the venue by Zuma’s bodyguards.
The placards referred to Zuma’s rape trial in 2006. The placards read “10 years later”, “Remember Khwezi”, “I am one in 3,” and “Khanga”.
In 2006, Zuma was acquitted of raping the then 31-year-old HIV-positive woman friend at his home in Johannesburg. This silent protest continued for the duration of Zuma’s short speech, who remained oblivious to the messages being transmitted to the whole country while he spoke.African News Agency