Julius Malema and Mantwa Matlala

Mantwa and Julius Malema. Image via Twitter: Julius Sello Malema

Redi Tlhabi slams MPs for using domestic violence as political football

The veteran broadcaster brazenly tweeted that women were ‘on their own against toxic lawmakers and men’.

Julius Malema and Mantwa Matlala

Mantwa and Julius Malema. Image via Twitter: Julius Sello Malema

Outspoken journalist, producer, author and former radio presenter Redi Tlhabi took to her Twitter timeline to lambast African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema whom she says have used the experiences of abused women to settle political scores.

Tlhabi also issued a warning to women, saying in her opinion, none of the men who raised the topic of domestic violence were actually on their side. 

Politicians condemn actions of Malema, Mamabolo

DA politician Phumzile van Damme questioned if permission had been acquired to use the names of the women who had allegedly been abused. 

“Using GBV [gender-based violence] as political football. Imagine if you’re the spouse/family of either Malema or Ramaphosa? If true, has their permission been sought to parade their names to get political opponents? If not, that is low. Disgusting,” she wrote. 

Former Gauteng premier and businessman Mbhazima Shilowa responded to Van Damme’s tweet, saying the presiding officer should have ruled out Mamabolo’s request to issue a point of order.  

‘Wife beater’ claims

Mamabolo began by issuing a point of order during Malema’s response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). The presiding officer took the point of order even though it had nothing to do with what Malema had addressed in his speech. 

This set the stage for a nasty showdown as Mamabolo accused the EFF leader of abusing his wife. 

“In terms of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998, it talks to the following: Physical abuse, stalking and verbal abuse. My question to Malema is that gender-based violence is happening at your house. 

“The matter has been happening for too long, members of the EFF instead of them condemning the issue they decided to crack a joke so that they can debate the matter on Thursday because they knew about the matter for a very long time. You are abusing your wife if the matter is true, are you going to apologise?” 

Malema hits back, calling Ramaphosa a ‘wife beater’

Malema then responded that he had never laid a hand on his wife of six years and mother of his two sons, Mantwa. Ramaphosa was then drawn into the saga with Malema saying his late wife, Nomazizi, had confided in former president Jacob Zuma and others in the ANC that she was abused by the statesman. 

Tlhabi also questioned the intentions of the presiding officer. 

“Yes. And the presiding officer who allowed the question…knowing it had NOTHING to do with the women & children of this country, but everything to do with partisan, infantile politics,” she tweeted. 

Mantwa Malema trends for nine hours

On Twitter, both Mamabolo and Malema hogged the trending lists, but it was the mention of Malema’s wife, Mantwa, that set social media ablaze. Mantoa trended for more than over nine hours as claims brought up by Mamabolo were a topic of debate. 


Loyiso Saliso weighs in

Gender activist Loyiso Saliso of Total Shutdown told eNCA that she found Mamabolo and Malema’s actions disingenuous. Saliso expanded on the events that occurred at Tuesday’s SONA Debate, detailing how it negatively affected the country’s fight against gender-based violence (GBV). 

“It wasn’t very much surprising as sad as it was because we’ve always been saying how men will be on our side in solidarity and preaching men to stand against gender-based violence, but when they are in their own spaces together and their egos are at play they will forget their stand. 

“A typical example is when Julius received the question of him abusing his wife. The first thing he did was react personally and go for Ramaphosa. It just shows how men have each other’s backs because if Julius knows about other men who are abusers, rapists or violaters and yet he keeps quiet about these people, then he is also an enabler of the crisis that we are dealing with.”

Saliso said the impact of the discussions around domestic violence, particularly in the context of parliamentary squabbles, would lead to people not taking it seriously. 

“If you want to stand as a leader of the country and speak against gender-based violence and yet you go out and use women’s bodies for political points and women’s traumas and lived experiences for political points, it does seem like an external personal agenda and once again a woman, Julius’s wife, is in the middle of this which is problematic because this is what we constantly face in society,” concluded Saliso.