WATCH: Women protesting Zuma’s rape charge pushed out by bodyguards
President Jacob Zuma’s address to the nation following the announcement of the 2016 local government elections was marred by a silent protest by a group of women, harking back to the rape case against him before he took office.
Four women dressed in black stood in front of Zuma as he took the podium, holding white sheets of paper with handwritten words reading “10 years on”, “khanga”, and “Remember Kwezi”.
The election results were broadcast live and Zuma’s address came immediately after IEC chairman Glen Mashinini announced the results nationally and those of the metros.
The ANC’s support in this election slipped below 60% and stands at 54%, but results for the City of Johannesburg are yet to be finalised.
Mashinini said it was possible to announce the results without the city because it was a municipal election.
As soon as Zuma left the podium and returned to his seat, the woman with the name “Kwezi” on her signboard turned to face him, but security cleared the way for the president to take his seat.
Thereafter Zuma’s security snatched the signs from the four women and hauled them to the back of the IEC centre.
Journalists followed but were stopped by security.
One of the women, identified as Wits activist and anti-rape campaigner Simamkele Dlakavu, tweeted that the group were alright after being removed by security.
IEC deputy commissioner Terry Tselane then stood up and apologised to the president and the nation for the unforeseen disturbance.
The Economic Freedom Fighters had reportedly also left the hall when Zuma started addressing the event.
The incident could be embarrassing for the ANC, Zuma and the IEC, as it was not expected and comes at a time when the party is facing a difficult period of reflection after its slipping electoral performance.
- additional reporting by Genevieve Quintal