Gender-based violence (GBV) has been a constant area of work and topic annually on all our mass media platforms and an integral part of our popular education programme since 2011. For example, in 2019, we organised and hosted provincial workshops for the LCMFs, which were attended by an average of 40 to 50 participants that not only focused on GBV in terms of awareness raising but organising and campaigning against it. Youth, women and marginalised workers were specifically targeted. In organising these activities, we partnered with other organisations including POWA and the Commission for Gender Equality.
A highpoint in our anti-GBV campaign efforts was the Justice for Binky Mosiane campaign in 2013. The tragedy of Binky Mosiane draws attention to the oppressive conditions of female mineworkers and the situation of black working class women in South Africa more broadly. She was a female mineworker who was raped and murdered while at work in the Anglo-Platinum mine near Rustenburg. Despite lots of evidence the case went cold indicating that the South African police had failed to properly investigate – symptomatic of systemic failure to address violence against women. After 18 months we initiated the Justice for Binky Mosiane Campaign involving a partnership with several NGOs and trade unions based in Johannesburg and Cape Town to symbolically draw attention to and mobilise around the oppressive conditions of female mineworkers. The campaign resulted in the arrest of the perpetrator who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the end of 2013.
In 2014 we partnered with CALS and others to attempt a class action suit for female mineworkers to ensure their safety at work. Unfortunately, this did not proceed due to a lack of resources and commitment of partners along with our inability to gain access to the affected workers. However, we have collaborated with the Solidarity Centre of the US’ AFL-CIO trade union federation to do research into the issue and a report is to be produced in the near future.
Future Plans for Anti-GBV Work
- We are still committed to supporting the female mineworkers to ensure their workplace safety and ensure legislated protection in collaboration with the National Union of Mineworkers’ gender desk and the trade union movement’s campaign around the ILO Convention 190 on GBV at the workplace. This could involve litigation against mining and retail companies. Currently we are co-producing a ILO C-190 campaign video with the Cosatu gender desk and all their affiliate unions’ representatives.
- A popular publication and train-the-trainer manual on gender and women’s oppression that targets mainly poor working-class communities and youth (including students) as well as trade unionists, especially shop stewards.
- Mass media and education and training as part of a broader campaign effort by the LCMC and trade union partners.