As we close of the year and 16 Days of Activism (Campaign which ran from November 25 to December 10) I think it’s imperative to note the act of bravery that was done by the NGO sector: ilithaLabantu, Black Sash, Equal Education and Phakama. These organisations have stretched their horizons and stood firm in building strong cases that were victorious in front of the Constitutional Court or judiciary leg of the state.
Black Sash along with other parties took Minister (of Women in the Presidency) Bathabile Dlamini to court for many cases including undue influence, maladministration and fraud. What is remarkable about this case is that the ConCourt’s verdict says the minister must pay the 20% of the legal fees.
Bear in mind that while she was moved from (the Department of) Social Development to the Presidency she must still pay.
No minister has ever been charged on a personal level for a decision taken in his or her executive capacity. Now ministers will be more responsible because of this precedent.
Phakama Community Health which is the least funded and does not even have legal resource but uses referrals and pro-bono methods of acquiring justice for its survival and beneficiaries, has managed to ensure that cases of sexual and physical abuse are solved and the perpetrators locked behind bars.
I name it because in one of the cases, the community was ready to use mob justice to solve it but it held a strong community engagement and informed residents of ways to use constitutional law rather than unlawful methods like a kangaroo court.
Ilitha labantu has shown great resilience in supporting victims of sexual abuse, often at the hands of people they know. These cases are more horrifying as children and women have been molested by those whom supposed to protect them.
Equal Education has proven beyond reasonable doubt that people are governing. Now the ConCourt has approved that people can take to the street when their rights of service delivery are being violated and people are being made to wait long for permits to march.
Nokwanda Makwela, Khayeltisha
I am writing in response to the burning issue of sexual abuse in the church.
Immorality can not be tolerated. I urge religious leaders not to take this matter for granted, because if a pastor has several accusations of sexual abuse against him, it should trouble the church.
In my opinion, criminals push their criminal activities in the name of Church, I believe that Christianity is infiltrated by men whose mission is to push a personal agenda that is contrary to the will of God.
We are called to preach the good news which is the grace of God and reveal his love unto human kind.
I believe that Cheryl Zondi has opened doors for other victims to be able to speak out about their traumatic experiences of sexual abuse in the church.
Based on my observations this matter is being treated as a normal. Our laws need to be examined because when our girls and women testify in the court of law, they experience secondary victimisation from lawyers of perpetrators.
This leads to self condemnation taking to consideration that they are already rejected in the church. Should this matter be left unattended, it means there will be more pastors joining this industry of criminal activities under the umbrella of the body of Christ.
It also has the potential to increase prostitution, human trafficking and substance abuse as it can be a coping mechanism to deal with the painful experience.
This matter is also affecting our economy, as more treatment is required for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), rehabilitation clinics and so on.
As I followed the case of Cheryl Zondi my heart broke not only for her but for every woman and girl who experienced the same trauma.
I am more flabbergasted by the silent voice of South African clergymen and women.