by Safiyia Stanfley – Federal Deputy Leader of the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network
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Date: 13 August 2018
The Democratic Alliance will request the Public Protector to investigate the manner in which the provincial Women’s Day event was turned into a rally for the ANC.
The event, which was hosted by the Department of Sport, Arts & Culture in Douglas on Sunday 12 August, was turned into a cheap electioneering trick for the ANC ahead of the by-election contested in Ward 4 of the Siyancuma Local Municipality this week. Delegates from the provincial government all donned ANC colours and some attendees even sported ANC logos on their apparel. The department openly boasts with this through the pictures and videos posted on its official Facebook page.
It is, of course, nothing new for the ANC to hijack commemorative events in this manner. Former president Jacob Zuma did substantively the same during the national commemoration of Women’s Day in Kimberley last year. What was supposed to be a multiparty event celebrating the contribution of women to our democracy quickly turned into a platform for internal party politics, as Zuma encouraged attendees to support a specific candidate in the ANC’s elective conference. Bathabile Dlamini also forgot that she was supposed to attend in her capacity as Minister of Social Development and instead spoke as Chairperson of the ANC Women’s League.
That the ANC-led provincial government chose to repeat these cheap ploys in this year’s commemoration speaks to the depths to which they will sink. Events of this nature should be inclusive and represent all women, irrespective of their political affiliation. To turn it into an ANC event is a direct thwarting of the department’s vision to enhance social cohesion with the hosting of commemorative events.
We cannot sit idly by while the people’s money is used to fund thinly disguised election rallies. It is time for change in the provincial government, change which will ensure that public funds are used to the public benefit that can only be brought by the DA.