Minister Susan Shabangu condemns Shoprite’s gendered, classist and racial violence

Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Ms. Susan Shabangu, is shocked and disgusted at the alleged inhumane acts meted out by Shoprite towards seven (7) female members of their staff complement.
The incident took place at Shoprite’s Pelican Park branch in Cape Town. It is alleged that the seven women, one of them pregnant, were handcuffed and exhibited for hours.
The women earn an average of R20 an hour, and are ranked amongst the lowest paid workers in the economy. Ironically, the charges against them are for receiving and accepting tips from customers who have demonstrated appreciation for their services.
This form of violence perpetrated upon the beings of the victims is not only unconstitutional, but it also resembles the brand of power and control that reproduces racist, classist and gendered forms of violence. Since the dawn of democracy, our nation is at work to build a non-racist, non-sexist society – and thus rejects action that is contrary to these constitutional aspirations.
Moreover, this form of violence undermines the sacrifices of the women of 1956, who risked their very beings so that women should never have to suffer indignity.
Our role as a society, if we are sincerely interested in transforming our nation, is to identify violence in all its forms, to call it out, and to make proposals for change that are based on the root causes of problems.
Shoprite’s inhumane actions also take place as Women’s Month draws to a close, and at a time when South Africa as a country is tirelessly working collaboratively to address the high rates of violence against women.
Minister Shabangu expresses strong condemnation for the inhumanity of Shoprite’s actions. She calls upon the management of Shoprite to drop the charges against the seven women. According to the Minister, “any form of violence against women, be it physical, emotional and financially, is not acceptable and has no place in our democratic country. On top of that, these women have families yet Shoprite continues to exploit them by paying them slave wages of R2400 a month.”
The Minister also calls on Shoprite to exercise agency in expunging the criminal records of those who have been found guilty. In a world where women have been historically excluded from the economic structure of our society, actions like those of Shoprite only serve to reverse the gains we have made towards the socio-economic empowerment of women – particularly those who have been historically marginalized by colonial and apartheid systems.

Source: Government of South Africa

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