Images of four female anti-rape protesters being manhandled and thrown out of the IEC centre in Pretoria, broadcast live on TV, have sparked fury on social media.
The young women walked up to the front of the stage during President Jacob Zuma’s speech after the announcement of the local government elections result on Saturday night.
The ladies, all dressed in black, stood facing the audience, holding up placards in silent protest while Zuma spoke on stage.
The placards said: ‘‘Kanga”, “I am 1 in 3”, “10 years later”, and “Remember Khwezi”, a reference to Zuma’s rape trial a decade ago.
“Khwezi” was the 31-year old HIV-positive woman who accused Zuma of raping her at his home in Johannesburg in 2006 when she was wearing a Kanga.
Zuma was acquitted after the court found that the sex was consensual.
The protesters were pushed and shoved out of the centre by Zuma’s security guards, as Zuma walked past them.
Mense took to Twitter to express their anger.
Neo Moisi tweeted: “If even 1 strand of hair is harmed on either of those protesters there will be flames #RememberKhwezi”
Mike Sharman said: “That was the most powerful message while Jacob spoke… Surely it’s time for the Cancer to step aside.”
IEC officials apologised to the president over the incident but the ANC’s women’s league accused the IEC of being complicit.
The league’s president Bathabile Dlamini said: “No head of state should be treated like this. We can never allow this and the IEC must come clean on it because it was clearly choreographed.”
She added: “If they wish and think the president is going to step down, that is a dream.”