#CodeRed Feminists Plan Mobilization to Reclaim Wom_n’s Month
20 August 2021
Feminists are tired: Across South Africa black wom_n and children continue to bear the brunt of a neoliberal system that believes R350 is enough ‘relief’ to feed families, that loots funds to create hair salons, that mobilizes toxic masculinities to enact violence at the expense of wom_n, children, foreign nationals and those in vulnerable positions.
The time for feminists to rise up and take action is now! On 27th August 2021, #CodeRed feminists are forming feminist chains across South Africa to say enough is enough. We are a collective of feminists demanding an equitable, accountable & feminist society and government.
For too long we have been under a patriarchal, misogynist leadership that has prioritized wealth-accumulation of a few, looting of public funds and the implementation of austerity measures.
Our demands are clear:
In July, #CodeRed activists disrupted former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s talk on a virtual public platform. We called for urgent budget choices to advance socioeconomic rights and end gender-based violence (GBV), within a long-term vision for humanity and the earth.
While President Cyril Ramaphosa reshuffled his cabinet, replacing Tito Mboweni with Enoch Godongwana as Minister of Finance, #CodeRed feminists are not confident that the government took our calls to action seriously.
“Those responsible for food and other unpaid care work in homes and communities are mostly women. Precarious paid work secures poverty wages and women’s contribution to social reproduction is invisible and unvalued in budgets that reflect neoliberal economic priorities, ” said the #CodeRed Collective, who choose to remain anonymous and horizontal in their organizing.
As a collective of feminists who urgently convened to respond to the social unrest of July 2021, we demand that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) exercises its discretion under Section 4 of the National Prosecution Policy and refrain from prosecuting destitute people charged with stealing food and other basic necessities.
“We were aware that those who were poor would be criminalised while the big looters of our country’s resources would once again get away with acting with impunity without any serious consequences.”
The state failed to move swiftly against leading players in the ruling party, state security sector, private security industry and crime syndicates implicated in the targeted violence of strategic access lines including to food, healthcare and social grants.
Instead, the army and police focused on securing and reopening these strategic access points, to ensure no area remained a ‘no-go zone’, while the state focused its energy on ‘Operation Show Your Receipt’. Police went door to door in poor communities, violating Constitutional rights to dignity, equality and the rule of law, breaking into homes, demanding receipts for food and confiscating and destroying the food they found.
We stand in solidarity with people, movements and organisations who have been systematically excluded by poverty, inequality, unemployment and gender-based violence. Our work is not done.
*Protests will take place in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Makhanda, Buffalo City, Welkom, Bloemfontein and more.
*Follow updates from the protests on Twitter @CodeRedZA
Note to editors/journalists:
General enquiries: LilithCRed@protonmail.com
The #CodeRed Feminist movement was born out of the collective action of a group of feminists seeking to urgently respond to the crisis of the social unrest of July 2021, the structural determinants of the mass unrest and looting, and the ensuing violence that followed. The initial objective of the group was to develop a statement as we felt that a feminist voice/analysis was missing during the unrest. The space was deliberately conceived to be without hierarchy to enable plural leadership and ownership to emerge. #CodeRed is the formation that has emerged.