Enock Godongwana is the latest prominent political figure to face sexual misconduct allegations. The minister allegedly sexually abused a massage therapist at Kruger National Park, according to reports.
Sonke Gender Justice is outraged by allegations of sexual harassment allegedly committed by South Africa’s Finance Minister, Enock Godongwana. The allegations are incredibly disheartening and should be taken seriously, especially in our socioeconomic context, which is characterised by high levels of violence against women and abuse and children.
There has been a pattern or history of prominent political or public leaders using their positions of power to abuse women and girls. Albert Fritz of Democratic Alliance was also implicated in the sexual misconduct lawsuit earlier this year, so this is one of many horrific examples. In light of this, we must hold leaders and others in positions of power accountable in order to prevent this type of behaviour from occurring again especially given the high levels of sexual offences in our country.
We note that Minister Godongwana has since denied the allegations. We are deeply disturbed however and demand a thorough, speedy and independent investigation. The government must act swiftly on this issue and send a clear message that such behaviour is not acceptable especially in the light of the GBVF-NSP policy and Related commitments.
“It is concerning when such reports come to the fore given the high levels of GBV already in our country. There is a greater expectation by society that leaders will maintain high moral standards as demanded by their offices to ensure that they lead society away from toxic masculine behavior. We hope that if a prima facie case is made on this matter the President will do the honorable thing and ensure that this minister is fully held accountable”, says Bafana Khumalo, Co-Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice.
We strongly support survivors and victims who speak out against various forms of abuse and encourage others to speak out when confronted with similar forms of abuse. We are aware that South Africa has a problem with under-reporting for a variety of reasons, including fear of retaliation, shame, or a lack of belief that anything will be done. Hence, it is crucial to believe those who come forward and take such cases seriously.
Co-Executive Director, and Co-Chairperson, Global MenEngage Alliance
Notes to editors
Sonke is a South African-based non-profit organisation working throughout Africa. We believe women and men, girls and boys can work together to resist patriarchy, advocate for gender justice, and achieve gender transformation.