Mpumalanga speaker says sorry to DA whip for ‘sex-worker dress’ comment

19 May 2015 - 18:39 By Rdm News Wire

Mpumalanga Speaker Thandi Shongwe on Tuesday officially apologised for likening Democratic Alliance provincial Chief Whip Jane Sithole to a prostitute because of her style of dress. “Her apology is welcomed‚” Sithole said in a statement.During a legislature sitting on March 31‚ Sithole said ANC MPL ANC MPL Vusimuzi Windvoël‚ objected to the dress she was wearing‚ calling it a “sex-worker dress”‚ “and the Speaker ruled that the dress was too revealing to be worn in the house”.The Sowetan reported at the time that it was in possession of video footage in which Windvoel was shown to say to Shongwe: “May I ask‚ honourable Speaker ‚ as some [in the house] have just spoken about people who dress like prostitutes‚ is it appropriate for an honourable member of this house who is a woman to‚ likewise‚ wear see-through things in parliament?”After laughter and banter‚ Shongwe asked Sithole‚ who wore a black dress‚ to put on her scarf.The ruling prompted DA MPL Anthony Benadie to object defiantly‚ labelling it as “sexist”. Shongwe tried to get Benadie to take his seat unsuccessfully‚ which prompted her to call in the sergeant-in-arms to eject Benadie‚ the newspaper said.Today‚ Sithole said‚ the Speaker ordered Windvoël to withdraw his remarks‚ which he did. “Instead of the Speaker protecting the dignity of women‚ she had entertained sexual innuendos and had furthered the attack on me‚ from the presiding officer chair. Her apology is welcomed. “More than 400 South Africans who shared our disgust for the March 2015 ruling joined the DA last month in a march to the Legislature to hand over a memorandum to the Speaker. Today's about-turn by the Mpumalanga Speaker is a victory for all women‚ of all races‚ and all political persuasions.“Women have the right to make their own choices‚ and have the right to be treated with dignity‚ and certainly the right to be respected.”Sithole and the DA had lodged complaints about the Speaker's March 2015 ruling‚ with the Gender Commission of South Africa‚ the SA Human Rights Commission‚ the provincial Premier and Office of the Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature‚ and the ANC Women’s League.-RDM News Wire

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