Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) wishes to extend its support to singer and former ANC MP Jennifer Ferguson and two other women wishing to remain anonymous, who have accused the head of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Danny Jordaan of rape. Furthermore, we are calling for him to be held accountable and to be suspended from the ANC membership and as SAFA president with immediate effect, until the matter has been resolved.
On Wednesday, 18 October 2017, Jennifer Ferguson posted a blog post in which she accuses Danny Jordaan of raping her 24 years ago in Port Elizabeth following a performance she had given at a sports dinner. Ferguson credits the #metoo social media campaign with empowering her to break her silence. The campaign – created by activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago and reignited by a tweet posted by actor Alyssa Milano – encourages women across the world to break the silence around sexual abuse and harassment by posting #metoo on social media in solidarity with other women. Many, like Ferguson, have shared their experiences for the first time.
Following Ferguson’s public allegations, two other women who have chosen to remain anonymous, alleged that Danny Jordaan had sexually assaulted them.
Danny Jordaan remained silent for 10 days on the issue until he issued a statement of denial through his lawyer, Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi earlier this week.
South Africa is faced with an epidemic of gender-based violence (GBV). The latest crime statistics revealed by the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, in parliament on the 24 October, indicates that 109 women report rape every day.1 And yet, we are faced with gross underreporting – the Medical Research Council estimates that only one in nine women report rape.2
Sonke acknowledges the potential backlash that accompanies speaking out as a rape survivor, and how this contributes to some choosing to remain silent, as Ferguson has done for 24 years. It takes strength and courage to publicly speak about such a traumatic incident. We stand firmly behind Ferguson and the two anonymous women, and offer our support to them. We furthermore encourage and support Ferguson’s offer to Jordaan for a mediated restorative justice process, as we believe it gives survivor’s ownership over the process.
We need to hold leaders, and those who occupy powerful positions, accountable. As such, we call on the ANC to publicly clarify their position regarding this matter. Furthermore, we call on the ANC to suspend Jordaan’s membership and on SAFA to suspend Jordaan’s presidency within the organisation, with immediate effect, until this matter has been resolved.
Bafana Khumalo, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Sonke Gender Justice, email@example.com, 082 578 4479
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