Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has apologised for his remarks regarding gender based violence (GBV) relating to the harassment of journalists by members of his party, saying that he was “irresponsible”.
Ndlozi made the remarks during the EFF’s protest against health and beauty retailer Clicks last week, saying that complaints by eNCA that one of their female journalists had been harassed were exaggerated, because she had “merely been touched”.
Ndlozi causes outrage over harassment comments
Ndlozi’s comments sparked outrage, as South Africa battles the scourge of GBV. The EFF have long maintained that they are the only party that has any chance of battling the violence perpetuated against the country’s women on a daily basis, but Ndlozi’s remark badly marred this assertion.
“I really do not see harassment here. Merely touching her is not harassment,” he tweeted on 9 September 2020.
“The touch has to be violent, invasive, or harmful to become harassment!” he added.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said it was outraged by the misogynistic comments, with the editor’s forum accusing Ndlozi of condoning the harassment of a female journalist by the party’s supporters.
Ndlozi apologises for ‘irresponsible’ tweet
On Wednesday 16 September, Ndlozi has finally admitted that his comments were in deeply poor taste.
“When I wrote ‘merely touching her is not harassment’, it was an irresponsible tweet, giving license to the violent treatment of women,” he said.
“It was also hurtful and made many who‘ve suffered violence relive this pain.”
He said that he had taken the criticism from all corners of the country to heart, and is deeply remorseful.
“I apologise and receive all the robust rebuke you all gave me with love!”
EFF protest ultimately successful
The EFF and Ndlozi were ultimately successful in their protest against a racist ad campaign published by Clicks, having endeavoured to shutdown any and all stores throughout the week.
Ultimately, Clicks agreed to fund medical scholarships for underprivileged young people of the EFF’s choosing, as well as supply medical resources to a host of rural clinics. This in a bid to end the protests, which saw several stores badly vandalised and members of the public intimidated.
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