Cele slams DA women for not calling out Steenhuisen when he called his ex-wife 'roadkill' and 'flat chicken'

Police minister said DA leader couldn't talk about GBV issues when he referred to his ex-wife in such a way

16 February 2023 - 12:00
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Police minister Bheki Cele.
Police minister Bheki Cele.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

A political squabble between police minister Bheki Cele and DA leader John Steenhuisen turned ugly after Cele accused him of abuse. 

Cele, during the debate on the state of the nation address this week, slammed Steenhuisen's public utterances about his ex-wife and slammed women in the DA for keeping quiet on the issue.

“I want to make a clarion call today, especially to DA women, that as we see these problems of gender-based violence (GBV), they could not have allowed their leader to make the statement about his ex-wife. He called her a flat chicken, he called her a roadkill.

“Roadkill is an animal that you kill and don't care [about]. For a leader to make that statement and the women don't say anything is a serious indictment,” said Cele. 

Steenhuisen called his ex-wife “roadkill” during an interview with MacG and co-host Sol Phenduka on Podcast and Chill. When asked by MacG what “roadkill” was, Steenhuisen said it “sounds a lot like my ex-wife”, before saying it was a “flat chicken”.

The DA Women's Network defended Steenhuisen's comment, telling Beeld newspaper that women should not be oversensitive. 

Cele said Steenhuisen was not ready to lead the country if he still sees women as “roadkill” and calls them “flat chickens”. 

“Let’s work together to deal with GBV. That invitation also goes to Steenhuisen. We want to hear you apologising for abusing a young woman who came to work in your office.

“The women around you are quiet and not saying anything. You came to this podium and talked about GBV. You better go and fix yourself; if not, we will help you,” said Cele.

EFF leader Julius Malema raised a point of order, demanding that Cele withdraw his allegation.

“We can't allow a situation where a minister drags the wife of the leader of the opposition and she's not here. You can't do the nonsense you are doing, because when we starting to respond, we are going to be in the wrong. 

“We shouldn't use women to fight our own political battles to a point where allegations that cannot be confirmed are said here. We cannot sit here and allow the minister to abuse the wife of the leader of the opposition in the name of fighting GBV, that is woman abuse. He must be called to order and to withdraw that unconditionally,” said Malema. 

National Council of Provinces chair Amos Masondo asked Cele to withdraw the remarks because they were unparliamentary.

“I withdraw,” said Cele.

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