NEWS & ANALYSIS

Brett Murray painting expression of pure prejudice - ANCWL & Co.

Alliance Gender structures says picture should be removed from gallery and the internet

RE: JOINT STATEMENT FROM ALLIANCE GENDER STRUCTURES

The Alliance gender structures, comprising of the ANC Women's League, Cosatu's Gender committee and SACP Women's League met to discuss a number of issues including policy papers ahead of the upcoming policy conference, the Progressive Women's Movement, working with the Women's Ministry, and the Commission for Gender Equity, among other things.

The meeting also addressed criticism of Cosatu, made by ANCWL President Angie Motshekga in the media regarding alleged sexist behaviour by Cosatu when confronted by DA protestors led by Helen Zille. The ANCWL President indicated the comments emerged due to the sensitive issues surrounding the treatment of women in South Africa and the high rate of abuse and rape.

Cosatu explained that the stripping of Zille was meant in a political and ideological context and not a literal one, as a result of her posturing as a champion for the rights of the poor. Cosatu further explained that messages portrayed by individual protestors on boards are not the Union Federation's position, the ANC Women's League accepts these explanations.

The Joint meeting between ANCWL officials and the Alliance gender structures further discussed the issue of the reoccurring negative portrayal of women. The collective remains resolute in its views that men should desist from using gender discrimination as a means of tackling political opponents, and all agreed that men should desist from talking about women's bodies as objects.

It must also be noted that the ANCWL believes the march by the DA was a deliberate provocation of Cosatu, we do not understand why they would chose to march to a trade union federation when they are opposed to Governments non-implementation of a project. They would have been better placed to march to Nedlac where this matter is currently being discussed.

The meeting also discussed the distasteful painting by Brett Murray currently being displayed in the Goodman Gallery. The Alliance gender structures detest in the strongest possible terms the vulgar portrayal of the country's President. The painting is not only an insult to the President and to the ANC, but to all the South Africans who have been subjected to their President portrayed in this sexual manner.

The painting is extremely insensitive and an expression of pure prejudice. It violates the integrity of the office of the President of the republic, and it violates his rights as an individual to humane and fair treatment.

The Alliance Gender structures demand the painting be removed from the walls of the gallery and from the internet where it is currently circulating and causing much humiliation to all patriotic South Africans.

The ANCWL, Cosatu and the SACP meet regularly and have always had an extremely good relationship; the Alliance will continue to work together to better the lives of women and further the programme of gender equality.

Statement issued by Troy Martens, ANC Women's League national spokeswoman on behalf of the Alliance Gender Structures, May 19 2012

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