Umlazi T-Section Atrocities - Letter to the Editor, Mercury

I would like to express my shock and concern at the recent events that have unfolded in T-section, Umlazi. The violent assaults, stripping and humiliation suffered by young women at the hands of certain hostel dwellers is a gross violation of their right to safety, equality, dignity and privacy.

 

As an organization, the Black Sash has historically campaigned for human rights, especially as they relate to women in our society.  We strongly assert that women have a fundamental right to live their lives in the way they choose - and to dress in whichever way makes them feel comfortable. The Black Sash believes in "making human rights real".

 

After all, the real test of our commitment to human rights in South Africa lies in our ability to enforce them.  If we do not, they will end up as rights on paper alone.

 

We therefore support calls for the municipality to intervene to protect the rights of the women of Umlazi to live in freedom and safety.  And we welcome the decision by the Commission for Gender Equality to take up this case on behalf of all South African women.  We will follow their deliberations with keen interest.

 

Evashnee Naidu

Black Sash Regional Director, Durban