African National Congress – Youth League
The President: President Collen Maine
By E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
African National Congress – Women’s League
The President: Honourable Minister Bathabile Dlamini
By E-mail: email@example.com
Re: Letter of Concern – Murder Charges brought against Patrick Wisani
We write this letter to formally indicate our concerns about the recent charge of murder brought against the African National Congress (ANC) Chairman for the Johannesburg Inner City, Patrick Wisani (the accused). In this letter, we also call on the ANC Youth and Women’s Leagues to appropriately respond to the allegations and take suitable action based on the seriousness of the allegation concerned.
By means of introduction, Sonke is a social justice and human rights organisation that works across South Africa to create the change necessary to attain gender equality, prevent gender based violence and reduce the spread of HIV and the impact of AIDS. In working towards attaining these objectives, Sonke conduct advocacy and builds the capacity of communities to advocate gender equality and for human rights to be protected and fulfilled by the state and citizens.
Facts of the Alleged Murder (the case): The IOL and Star media sources have reported that the accused has been charged and arrested for allegedly murdering his girlfriend whose identity has been withheld. The murder is said to have taken place at the shared residence of the accused and the deceased in Yeoville, Johannesburg after the accused returned from the ANC Youth League’s National Congress on Saturday, 5 September 2015. The cause of her death has been reported as assault with a sjambok resulting in the deceased suffering ‘multiple open wounds across her entire body”. Subsequent media articles have revealed that the accused has been remanded until his next appearance in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on 17 September 2015.
Cause for Concern: Sonke has a direct interest in the charge of murder brought against the accused on the basis that the allegation involves the murder of a woman identified as the accused’s intimate partner. This indicates that the alleged murder amounts to an act of domestic violence and accordingly, gender-based violence.
The accused occupies a senior position within the ANC Youth League and thus performs the role of a leader to other young men within the Youth League and to men and boys in his community. Sonke asserts that the gender attitudes and conduct of men in positions of power shapes the gender attitudes and related conduct of other men and boys and thus considers allegations of this kind of particular concern from a social and gender perspective.
The severity of the alleged gender based violence requires a human rights based response from civil society in the exercise of active citizenry in an open and democratic society based on the constitutional imperatives of human dignity, equality and freedom for all who live in South Africa.
Sonke herewith appeals to the ANC Youth and Women’s League to:
- Institute disciplinary proceedings against the accused by suspending him with immediate effect pending the outcome of the current criminal proceedings and based on the aforementioned allegations which no doubt have been brought to the attention of our offices already. This appeal is made irrespective of whether or not the accused is granted bail by the Johannesburg Magistrates Court at any point during the criminal proceedings.
- Provide financial and emotional support to the deceased’s family and those impacted by her death during this time of bereavement.
- Issue a public statement appropriate with seriousness of the allegations and the severity of the alleged gender-based violence by publicly opposing gender inequality and gender based violence in South Africa and particularly by ANC leaders.
- Develop and adopt an ANC policy that commits members to advancing gender equality and eradicating gender-based violence including through enforcing a zero tolerance approach to gender based violence committed by ANC leaders within ANC structures.
- Actively support the South African National AIDS Council’s Women’s Sector and Sonke’s call for the adoption of a national strategic plan on gender-based violence.
- Submit ANC leaders for compulsory gender sensitisation training to ensure gender equitable attitudes and conduct is observed and encouraged amongst members occupying less senior positions. To this end, we confirm that Sonke is willing to assist in the development of any required training curricula and in facilitating such training.
We trust that our concerns and appeals are noted and confirm our amenability to address any of these issues with yourselves in person. Should your offices’ have any questions or queries, please feel free to contact the writers directly.