Phumzile Van Damme, a former Member of Parliament, called out Somzi Mhlongo for what she sees as a continuation of harmful rhetoric in a country with a problem of gender-based violence.
Van Damme, a consultant on anti-disinformation and communication strategy, criticized Ask a man host on Metro FM for saying that the state may not be able to change the way men treat women, however, women have the power to change how they want to be treated.
The video, which was recorded during the show, was shared on Twitter by Khutso Theledi, co-host of Mhlongo, and received mixed reactions from the audience. What Mhlongo expressed on air, Van Damme said, was a harmful belief in blaming women for their abuse.
Speaking to Sweetan on Thursday after contacting the radio station on Twitter, Van Dam said: “This is not only incredibly ignorant, but also harmful misinformation being spoken on the radio and over the megaphone on social media.
“SABC as a public broadcaster has a huge educational role to play in public and all of its presenters need to recognize that. Victim blaming doesn’t work, it takes away the responsibilities of offenders. It needs to apologize and commit to learning a little bit more so it shares the right information,” she said.
“What I found appalling was Khotso Thaledi, who co-hosted, shared and publicized the programme, perpetuating a deeply hurtful story. There needs to be a greater responsibility about not amplifying misinformation. SABC needs to take it seriously. The deal With Women’s Rights needs presenters to educate themselves about the crisis in South Africa.”
“We may not be able to change the way men treat women, but women do have the power to change how they want to be treated,” said Mhlongo, who was responding to a listener, on the show. The official stops there.
“If as a mother you have not been able to do this, please teach your daughters. You know khatso, those steps [life stages steps] They talk about him negatively, as if you are holier than you? These steps are bigger than we think. Steps to use protection until engagement and marriage.
“I don’t want to come across as judgmental, I want to come across as someone who has a sense of why these steps should be followed. Personally, I failed to follow these steps but that doesn’t mean I can’t teach my daughter to do it. Make sure she doesn’t skip those steps so she doesn’t call Ask a man. “
Sweetan tried to get a comment from Mhlongo about the crowd’s reaction, but he didn’t respond.
SABC also did not comment on when it went to print.