Total Shutdown organisers lament Ramaphosa no-show as they descend on the Union Buildings
The thousands of women who took part in the #TheTotalShutdown march to the Union Buildings on Wednesday said they were disappointed that President Cyril Ramaphosa was a no-show.
One of the march organisers‚ Loyiso Saliso‚ applauded the woman who turned out to express anger against gender-based violence‚ saying the movement was bigger than all of them.
But‚ she said‚ it was disappointing that Ramaphosa was not there to receive a memorandum.
“Mr President‚ you not coming here says a lot about you. We see you‚ Baba Thuma Mina. Come 2019 elections we will remember all that happened in planning this shutdown. We are keeping receipts‚” she said.
The group waited for President Cyril Ramaphosa to receive and sign the memorandum‚ but he was a no show. According to one of the organisers‚ Gaopalelwe Phalaetsile‚ Ramaphosa sent Minister Ayando Dlodlo‚ who also apparently did not show up.
“We are not going to deliver the memorandum here. We are not going to give it to anyone other than the president. We will engage him further in his office‚” she told TimesLIVE.
The march brought the City of Tshwane to a standstill on Wednesday‚ as hundreds of women gathered to raise their voices against the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.
Among those leading the march was Nomasomi Limakwe a wheelchair-bound woman‚ who said‚ “This is an important platform for me as a woman who is also disabled‚ to raise my voice to say enough is enough.”
The women marched to the union buildings in song‚ some holding hands as others hoisted placards above their heads.
One of the marshals‚ Pontsho Serumula‚ said she hoped the government would institute a specialised court that will deal exclusively with issues of gender-based violence. Serumula said she was physically abused and burned with acid by her husband of 12 years.
“My case has been dropped several times because of missing dockets. I hope myself and other women will get justice one day‚” she said.
She added that it was painful to see her perpetrator still walking around freely‚ four years after the case was opened.
During the march‚ women could be heard chanting “no means no”. The women wore black and red clothing to show solidarity with victims. Upon their arrival at the Union Buildings‚ the women were given opportunities to tell their victor stories‚ instead of their victim stories.
A moment of silence was also observed to pay tribute to women who lost their lives at the hands of gender-based violence. This was followed by a heartfelt rendition of “senzeni na‚ amadoda ayizinja”‚ loosely translated to “What have we done? Men are dogs.”
The crowd was protesting under the banner of #TheTotalShutdown which was part of a series of nationwide protests that also attracted neighbouring countries such as Lesotho and Namibia to join and show solidarity.