Reflecting on Women’s Month: Break the silence over allegations against legislature secretary Vuyani Mapolisa

With another Women’s Month over, the Eastern Cape branch of the DA Women’s Network (DAWN), ponders the state of women’s rights in South Africa.

“Break the Silence” is a global slogan that aims to encourage women to articulate their tales of gender injustice and cruelty based on sexual identity.

It is for this reason and the fact that each of us has a moral obligation to assist those who suffer in silence, that DAWN raises urgent questions for clarity in the Eastern Cape Legislature.

A report in the Daily Dispatch of 8 July 2017 described a violent incident allegedly perpetrated by Vuyani Mapolisa, the Secretary of the Eastern Cape Legislature on 28 March this year, against a female staff member.

In sum, Mapolisa is alleged to have driven his Jeep Cherokee into Ms Kumaro Gazo, while she was clutching the bonnet of said Jeep causing paralysis from the neck down.

Our Speaker, Hon. Noxolo Kiviet, was tasked by the Chief Whip, Mxolisi Mrara, to confirm the contents of a letter in which former legislature researcher Kerr Hoho described this alleged incident, within 14 days.

As yet there has been no communication of the outcome of the Chief Whip’s instruction.

DAWN Eastern Cape appeals to the Speaker and the Chief Whip to provide a full report of the findings, recommendations and follow-up actions of this alleged violence against a staff member within 14 days of the publication of this statement.   Silence amounts to violence!

Let’s break the glass ceiling and this silence! — Celeste Barker MPL, DAWN provincial chairperson