A group of placard-wielding protesters disrupted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Women’s Day keynote address this afternoon, minutes before he was due to deliver a message to hundreds of women gathered at the Mbekweni Rugby Stadium in Paarl.
Brandishing signs reading “#Stop Farm Evictions” and “Sign Evictions Moratorium”, and shouting “This is our land”, scores of women-led protesters demanded that Ramaphosa address the land issue and sign a moratorium on land.
Ramaphosa told the crowd he would speak about the protester’s issues, before beginning his speech which celebrated the centenary of Mama Albertina Sisulu and the contributions made by other female Struggle stalwarts.
“We mark these events so that we may be reminded as we look to the future no matter how difficult the problems, by working together we can succeed and indeed prevail,” he said.
During his speech, Ramaphosa addressed various issues faced by women in this country, including safety, the spate of violent crimes against women and equality.
Ramaphosa added that the women of South Africa needed to be treated with respect and honoured, and that he had instructed the police minister to act against two policemen who allegedly assaulted women at last week’s #TotalShutdown march.
He said that following the march, government had agreed to a national gender summit, which will take place on August 31, 2018 and will address the crisis of gender-based violence.
On the issue of land reform, Ramaphosa assured the crowd and protesters that government wants the land process to benefit women.
Earlier in the day, the president met with elderly women from Mbekweni for a special Women’s Day breakfast. They were joined by S truggle Stalwart Sophie De-Bruyn, Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini and Minister of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.