Johannesburg - As the EFF commemorates National Women's Day, the party called on South Africans to unite, make the country safe for women, and break the silence on gender-based violence.
The party said Women's Day holds deep historical significance, tracing back to August 9, 1956, when thousands of courageous women marched to the Union Buildings in Tshwane, led by fierce activists Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.
Over 20 000 women marched to the administrative capital of South Africa to present a petition against the passing of laws to then-apartheid Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom.
The march was a powerful display of unity and resistance, with women from different racial and cultural backgrounds participating.
The party said there are many women activists who did not live to see a free South Africa but who gave up their lives for the struggle, such as Dulcie September, who was assassinated by the apartheid regime, and Annie Silinga, who was part of the Defiance Campaign and the Treason Trials.
EFF national spokesperson Leigh-Ann Mathys said even in contemporary history, women's movements across South Africa have boldly challenged and waged war against entrenched patriarchal frameworks. Yet, the battle persists with the hard-fought victories of women, in some cases, having come to a standstill and regrettably facing regression under the ANC government led by Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mathys said this is starkly evident in how Banyana Banyana continue to endure years of discrimination by the South African Football Association (Safa), led by Danny Jordaan, particularly concerning remuneration and sponsorship.
She said that despite being the current African champions and the first South African national team to reach the Fifa World Cup knock-out stage, the patriarchy within Safa is so inherent that Banyana Banyana are forced to juggle full-time jobs while also playing football.
Last year, Safa had to be coerced to grant Banyana Banyana bonuses after winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), and the team had to strike once again this year to secure assurance of their Fifa-provided bonuses that they had legitimately earned.
‘’The EFF has remained committed to women’s emancipation and has actively worked towards dismantling patriarchal structures. In the spirit of the women of 1956, we continue to fight for equal pay for Banyana Banyana, decriminalisation of sex work, and justice for the HIV-positive black women who were tortured by the ANC Government through forced sterilisation,’’ Mathys said.
She further said: ‘’We continue the legacy of the women of 1956—the fight against state brutality against women’’.
Mathys said state institutions that are mandated to investigate, prosecute, and imprison men who rape, murder, or abuse women are perpetual failures. In fact, as a result of these failures, the state unleashes secondary brutality against women reporting their violations.
‘’It is these similar conditions, except now under the ANC government, that led to the biggest women’s march since 1956. In April 2019, the EFF took to the streets to march to the Constitutional Court, demanding that victims and survivors of rape, murder, and abuse get justice.’’
‘’As we approach next year's ballot, it becomes paramount for South Africans to cast their votes for the EFF, the only political party that persistently fights for gender equality,’’ said Mathys.