Outrage as Commission for Gender Equality calls for investigation on inhumane treatment of looters

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Coming as an insult to the country in the wake of a national terrorist attack, the Commission for Gender Equality is calling for an investigation on the “inhumane treatment” some of the looters experienced during their crime spree.

In a statement, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) claims that it condemns any form of looting that ultimately will negatively impact the food security and stability of the country. The Commission also states, “Inevitably, this can also scare foreign direct investment (FDI). It is for this reason that the Commission denounces such acts.”

However, adding to this, Tamara Mathebula, Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality, says, “That, being said, as a human rights institution, the CGE cannot put a blind eye to various videos circulating in the social media platforms wherein men, women, the elderly, and children were treated in an inhumane manner for stealing. The Commission does not condone any form of stealing, however, degrading people and dehumanising them does not also make it less of a crime. There are many ways of punishing people without having their rights infringed as purported in the videos that we have seen.”

However, a fundamental point not being taken into account by the CGE would be that South Africa’s law-abiding citizen’s rights were infringed upon and destroyed by mass criminal behaviour. Leaving the public to defend their homes, as the SAPS were notably underprepared, and the SANDF only deployed once the issue was well underway. Additionally, once those South Africans decided to give up the law and become a looter/terrorist against their fellow South African and country, then surely the manner in which people defended themselves against such acts should not be the question, but rather question the criminals infringing on the rights of hard-working people.

However, despite this, she adds that the Commission was also appalled by the unfortunate incident of women who were made to swim in something that looked like water/alcohol spillage. Furthermore, the CGE states that no matter how angry those people were who made the women do such an act in Mamelodi Mall, it cannot be accepted that women were objectified or demeaned in such a manner.

Those women in the videos are mothers, sisters, and aunts to many. “Imagine the humiliation they will suffer for having been subjected to such acts,” the Commission says.

The detachment from reality is overwhelming, as, by the standard of the CGE, every criminal who is female should then ironically be treated differently, just because she is a mother, sister or aunt, i.e. objectifying her. As an organisation based on gender rights, blurring the line between a caught criminal and a helpless mother being victimised cannot occur. I mean, at the end of the day, Hitler had a mother. Should we have treated him or her differently?

Concluding, the Commission is now, despite all the challenges, costs, damages and mass emigration brought on by the onslaught of mob violence—calling for investigations into these incidents to have a punitive measure against those found to have erred in the process. Mathebula added, “The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in Chapter 2 guarantees everyone rights. And those rights extend to the looters too. The law must be applied but not in the manner in which people had their dignity and bodily integrity removed.”

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