BRENDA MADUMISE-PAJIBO | Malatji’s misogynistic statementunderlines the problem ANC has

It’s the state’s obligation to make social services available to the people

ANC Youth League president Collen Matji’s statement showed a callous disregard for the plight of women in this country.
ANC Youth League president Collen Matji’s statement showed a callous disregard for the plight of women in this country.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The silly season is upon us, yes, elections are upon us and as always the public is open to abuse and disrespect by politicians.

I trust that the ANC Youth League leader, Collen Malatji, has read the many studies and reports on poverty and inequality in SA, before spewing the diatribe that during the past 30 years the ANC has done so many things, including paying you“…for being born, pays you for living, pays you to go to school, pays you to go to university and gives your mother water and electricity”.

Ordinarily, statements such as these would be left unaddressed but given the circumstances we now live in SA, keeping politicians’ feet to the fire is a moral imperative, if not a civil obligation.

The gall to utter such a statement with confidence should concern us voters and taxpayers. It smacks of ignorance, arrogance, delusion, desperation and misogyny. When a politician like Malatji spouts the aforementioned, he ignores the constitutional imperatives, which obliges the state to make social services available to those among us who are indigent and cannot afford to take care of themselves.

It is a palliative but not necessarily a solution. The fact that a young man can tout such a message underlies the problem the ANC has in the country. Somehow, we, voters and taxpayers, should all be content because the ANC upholds the constitution. Is this not what a government ought to do?

Is the public purse a cash machine for the ANC? When did taxpayer monies become the largesse of the ANC? When a government spends on the welfare of its people because it is obligated to do so by law, we are then told that it is the ANC that must be credited.

What hubris. The government is expected to uphold the constitution, deliver social services to the people and should not be expected to be given an award for doing the most basic obligation under the law.

However, the message underlines a salient point that is entrenched among the leaders of the ANC. They believe that the public purse is an ANC feeding trough and therefore they can abuse it and do whatever they want. No wonder corruption is rife.

When one unpacks the message further, we can see how misogynistic it is. “…The ANC pays your mother water and electricity…” Like really, only mothers consume water and electricity and make children, fathers are not responsible?

In a country where women are under attack on a daily basis, where rape and violence against women is commonplace, a leader of the ANC makes such statements in the vain hope of winning votes?

What a callous disregard for the plight of women. This is so insulting in so many ways that I had to remind myself I cannot allow Malatji to drag me down to his level of pedestrian thinking and analysis, but rather live in the hope that some day he will get it.

Maybe, Malatji is still wet behind the ears and needs an intensive lesson on the history of this country instead of being disparaging and combative towards voters and taxpayers. The degradation and dismissal of women is key to the building and maintenance of the disproportionately male power in SA political, economic, social and sexual life.

Malatji fails to recognise that male privilege and his own mindset and self-image as sites of power – both for participating in and perpetuating systems of oppression. The public purse is not a largesse for the ANC.

Any political party worth its salt will uphold the constitution of the Republic to which it has sworn fidelity; and if that does not happen, the people of SA will gladly show that party the door.

The ANC is not an exception. Its leaders must recognise that ours is a constitutional democracy and the rights of all must be respected and upheld. It is not benevolence nor a goodwill gesture when social services are delivered to the poorest of the poor; it is an inalienable right and elemental basis for their inherent dignity to be established. The young man of the ANC must understand this and desist from promoting misogyny.

Madumise-Pajibo is a directorat Wise4Afrika

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