Angie Motshekga: An awful example to women everywhere

I really meant to title this post “A women who should neither be seen nor heard.” But that would have been truly awful…

Let it be known that I would be proud to be called a feminist. I strongly support gender equality and care about gender issues. I truly feel for women who invariably have to work twice as hard, if not harder, to earn the respect that men get for doing little or nothing. It’s a shitty, lopsided world – where women have to prove themselves daily.

And it shouldn’t have to be like that.


But when a woman has been entrusted with a position of power, a position of national importance, and then proceeds to make light work of totally fucking things up, then I have to speak up yet again – in the interests of those directly affected and for good woman everywhere who make a success of their position against major odds. Such a woman is Angie Motshekga, the South African Minister for Basic Education.

Not only has Angie set education back many years in South Africa, she continues to blunder ahead with an arrogance that will put many men to shame. No doubt Angie has ample talents, but furthering the interests of education in post-apartheid South Africa, is most certainly not one of them. She seems to have the knack for stumbling from one crisis to another, the latest being her Ministry’s failure to ensure that more than 64 500 teaching positions are filled in one Province alone.

This act alone while being extremely detrimental to the educational needs of South Africa’s children, should be declared as criminal. How her gross incompetence is allowed to continue in a country having what we are assured is a democracy, is beyond comprehension.

Angie Motshekga also serves as the leader of the ANC Women’s League, an organization whose relevance in a modern society is rather dubious, when for most intents and purposes, they seem to serve only as the cheering section for the glut of incompetent men in the ANC government. A recent report in the Sunday Independent suggests that this wing of the ANC, much like the ANC Youth League, is in some disarray. Another report in the Daily Maverick suggests that the ANC Women’s League under Angie are “slavishly loyal to the ANC at the expense of women’s rights.”

Angie’s recent call for action against patriarchy was rather hollow considering her die-hard support for President Jacob Zuma, who’s undoubtedly an icon of this reprehensible social malaise in South Africa. The recent furore over the Spear painting highlighted this fact most convincingly.

In short, Angie is a pathetic example to good women everywhere. One hopes that she is removed from the spotlight before she does more damage to both our education system and the plight of women.

Gender equality is the politicians head-bashing tool of the moment

Welcome to South Africa, where the politicians spend equal amounts of time verbally bashing each other and frittering away our tax-money, while reluctantly giving up a meager percentage of their time to attend to the business of governing.

In the news at the moment is gender equality; an important and relevant issue for all women and well-adjusted men, but simply another tool to bash each other with, in the hands of politicians.

The formation of the new Ministry for Women, Children, Youth and People with Disabilities has raised the ire of gender groups such as Gender Links and People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA), but has raised the curiosity of the official Opposition Party in Parliament, the Democratic Alliance (DA). While the gender activists are wondering if this is a good development for women’s rights, the DA are wondering how best to use it against the ruling ANC government.

And in a move that has fanned the flames of heated debate, Helen Zille leader of the DA which won the Provincial election in the Western Cape, has announced a Provincial Government Executive composed of entirely males. While this has women’s rights groups up in arms, the ruling ANC government and its chihuahua-on-a-leash, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) have used it to score political points against Helen Zille and the DA. To make things more interesting, both Helen Zille and the ANCYL have indulged in a bitter verbal war, trading insults which promises to provide much writing fodder for the press. To further complicate issues, the former military wing of the ANC’s, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Military Veterans Association has joined the fray and threatened to “launch a political programme aimed at rendering the Western Cape ungovernable.” What exactly this entails, I don’t know, but a bunch of decrepit pensioners invading the Provincial Assembly to play bingo, springs readily to mind.

If we ignore all the distractions of the politicians and their lap-dogs, and rationally examine the allegations of gender disparity in Helen Zille’s Provincial cabinet, one has to ask if serving the interests of gender equality (and by extension, gender activists), is more important than serving the interests of the public and province, as these are public office positions. If Helen Zille has picked the people best suited to serve their constituency, and they so happen to be all male, then we should have no qualms. However, if she has picked a man where an available women candidate could perform equally well or better, then the gender groups have every right to demand that the man be replaced.