Stop the fining of single mothers

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Stop the fining of single mothers

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Dear Khosi Thovhela Peter Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, Paramount Chief of the vhaVenda,

We, the undersigned, ask that you work with Chief Pandelani Singo to provide compensation to pregnant women and mothers forced to pay the R850 fine since 2008 and provide additional compensation to those unwed pregnant women and mothers forced to take out loans to pay the fine. We note your statement to the media that you received the complaint about this issue on the 22nd March. We feel that acknowledging the problem and waiting to see if Chief Pandelani Singo keeps his word is not enough. Justice must be achieved for the wrongdoings of this process. We ask that all those whose human dignity was violated receive compensation by the end of May. We also ask that you initiate a programme in the next month to tackle the stigma of pregnancy that forces single mothers and pregnant women to flee their homes.

Stop the fining of single mothers
150 signatures required

It has been have revealed that Chief Pandelani Singo of the vhaVenda Tribal Authority has been illegally issuing warrants of arrest and fining unwed pregnant women R850 since 2008 [1].

This patriarchal practice has forced many young mothers and families in Venda’s Mandala Village to approach loan sharks and trade their SASSA cards to get loans. Some women have even had to flee from the village to avoid being punished.

As South Africans we know that customary law continues to play an important role in the lives of many rural South Africans, but traditional leaders should not abuse this authority by claiming powers not traditionally held under custom. Situations such as this one highlight the vulnerable position that women often occupy in traditionally male-dominated institutions and structures at a time when South Africa is attempting to achieve equal rights regardless of sexuality and gender.

[1] Fines for pregnant women, Glacier Nkhwashu for the Sowetan 7 April 2015