Nkandla – President Jacob Zuma on Saturday said modern women were too quick to say they were being harassed when men were innocently complimenting them. Zuma, who was in a jovial mood, made the comment shortly after he checked for his name on the voters’ roll at Ntolwane Primary School in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
He was accompanied by his wife Tobeka Madiba Zuma and their 8-year-old daughter, Nqobile.
Zuma spoke to female journalists, saying in Zulu, “It’s a pity we live in a white man’s world; you can’t even say ‘Gqezu, Gqezu ntomazane! Nongenazo izinkomo uyayidla inyama’.”
This is a Zulu saying loosely meaning that even if you don’t have enough money to pay lobola, you can still get married.
Zuma said if men could compliment women the way they did in the past, his bodyguards would compliment the journalists. “But when men compliment you innocently, you say it’s harassment. You’ll miss out on good men and marriage,” said Zuma, laughing.
He also encouraged journalists to go out and register to vote. “You don’t have to tell us who you’re voting for, it can be your secret,” said Zuma.
Meanwhile, the DA expressed their disappointment with the comments made by Zuma.
According to DA national spokesperson, Phumzile Van Damme, Zuma’s comments are “outrageously sexist and an insult to every single woman in our country, especially those who are survivors of violence and sexual abuse”.
“It’s precisely this patriarchal attitude that allows for women to remain the subjects of high levels of violence and sexual abuse throughout our country,” Van Damme said.
The DA said that these comments will be reported to the South African Human Rights Commission. “We will also write to Jacob Zuma and the ANC Women’s League President, Bathabile Dlamini, and ask that they issue an apology – without delay – to the women of South Africa for their blatant disconnect from their lived reality across our country.” – AP