Another trouser attack in Umlazi
Thandeka Cele, returning from a rally in the city marking the first-year anniversary of the NFP, was assaulted by a man for wearing trousers
The Mercury reported, on February 28 this year, that gender rights organisations have expressed dismay that another woman has been assaulted at Umlazi’s notorious Unit 17 hostel for wearing trousers.
They have urged the authorities to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.
A fortnight ago, Thandeka Cele, returning from a rally in the city marking the first-year anniversary of the NFP, was assaulted by a man for wearing trousers. She reported the attack to the police, who immediately arrested a man.
The man’s friends held a protest march against his arrest at the hostel, which triggered violence between IFP and NFP supporters at the hostel at the weekend.
A man was shot and killed and a woman died of a suspected heart attack at the height of the violence, during which 30 houses and three vehicles were torched. Cele and her family have since fled.
Yesterday, her alleged attacker, Nkosiyazi Gwala, who is out on bail, appeared briefly in the Umlazi magistrate’s court and the matter was adjourned to March 7.
Five years ago, Zandile Mpanza was beaten, stripped and made to walk naked in public for wearing trousers at the same hostel. Two men charged with attacking her and burning down her home were convicted.
Liza Vetten, of Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, said yesterday that the latest incident suggested women were dealing with a problem culture at the hostel.
“The izinduna (headmen) running Unit 17 need to attend training on gender equality and take a much stronger stand against these incidents,” she said. The ANC Women’s League urged police to ensure that women at the hostel were protected and free to wear pants if they wanted to.
Carrie Shelver, of the One- in-Nine Campaign, said this was part of a campaign to control women’s sexuality.
Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu vowed yesterday that the hostel would not have different laws for women from those that governed the country. “Women are free to wear whatever they desire and we will make sure that they are free to make this choice,” said his spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane.