South Africa: Holding government and parties accountable on GBV and LGBTI+ issues

Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane is a social justice attorney and works at Sonke Justice Gender in the Policy Development and Advocacy Unit.

On a sunny day in October 2017, my mother took her last breath, she fell and died. Her life was marred with violence both structural and intimately. As I recently cast my vote on 8 May, I thought about her and many people whose lives are marked with this heinous reality of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

This week, as new members of Parliament were sworn in, increasing the number of womxn in Parliament, I find myself thinking about her again and wondering if she would be pleased with this year’s results. More importantly, what would she have thought of the various political parties’ manifestos as a Pan Africanist womxnist?

I do not know her thoughts and cannot begin to articulate or speculate about them. Instead, I will articulate mine regarding the manifestos of the top political parties, which comprises of the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) following this year’s results.

During the campaign season, the parties released their various manifestos and made certain promises covering a myriad of issues. The manifestos had a particular focus on GBV. This is largely owed to the tireless work of people, especially womxn rights movements involved in the #TotalShutDown march on 1 August 2018 to the Union Building, to present the President with 24 demands that would go a long way in reducing the scourge of GBV. Following the success of the march, a two-day GBV and femicide summit was held to traverse pertinent issues pertaining to GBV.

I read the various manifestos with interest. I also spent some time reading the Dullah Omar Institute’s feminist analysis on ANC, EFF and DA manifestos, which focused on GBV, unemployment, housing, the wage gap and land, to name a few. Sonke Gender Justice also compiled a short analysis of the manifestos of nine political parties contesting the 2019 National Elections. The analysis addresses traditional gender issues such as female representation, gender equality, and issues relating to the LGBTI+ community and sexual and reproductive health – while sex work, as well as migration, were included to broaden the spectrum of themes reviewed. Read more via Mamba