Independent legislator for Norton Temba Mliswa has suggested that the number of seats allocated to women under the proportional representation (PR) quota should be reduced.
Mliswa argued that most of the women had not participated meaningfully in Parliament and called for some of their PR seats to be allocated to war veterans and disabled people instead. Said Mliswa,
The issue of the elections in this country is very important and I want to touch on this in terms of the war veterans. This will also touch those living with disability, why can this country not have a quota for them because we have a quota for women, 60 women are in Parliament.
Most of them do not do anything, the only thing that we have seen coming off them is having nice makeup and nice wigs so the proportional representation of 60 women Members of Parliament has actually made us lose money because if you now take stock of what they have done, most of them have done nothing…it is my suggestion that out of the 66, 20 of them go to war veterans, 20 go to people with disability because if you see contributions in the Hansard which is a record of Parliament, they have absolutely said nothing. Some of them have even lost primary elections without even saying nothing.
Unsurprisingly, this did not go down with most female legislators who took exception to Mliswa’s words. MDC-T politician Tabetha Khumalo had to be escorted outside by the Sergeant-at-Arms after she became angry and continued interjecting. Said Khumalo before leaving,
…you were given birth to by a woman, Mr Speaker. You must respect women.
This is not the first time that Mliswa has, expressed such sentiments. In November 2017, the outspoken legislator also said that female legislators had done nothing to the cause of women.