ANC Women’s League wants to decriminalise prostitution

ANCWL treasurer and Higher Education Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize

The ANC Women’s League has a plan of action aimed at decriminalising prostitution in South Africa, notwithstanding expected opposition from churches.

According to a report in City Press, ANCWL treasurer and Higher Education Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, said the league had planned its approach carefully because it expected resistance.

The ANCWL reortedly has its sights on the party’s December conference in Mangaung, where it hopes to pass a resolution decriminalising sex work.

City Press writes that the league has authored a discussion document on gender in preparation for the Mangaung conference. The document notes that the South African Law Reform Commission is investigating new prostitution laws. It argues that the law treats prostitutes as criminals but does not treat their male clients “with the same heavy-handedness”. It says the ANC should “support  a position that will embrace the dignity of women”.

Mkhize told City Press: “As we move to the policy conference, we want to put the facts before people and build buy-in that way.”

Asked how the country’s churches were expected to react to the proposed change in legislation, Mkhize referred to abortion legislation that government signed into law in 1996.

“Churches were saying no, but we still passed the law. The problem with churches is that churches prepare people for heaven, but not for life on earth. They are not supposed to condemn, they are supposed to educate.”

Reacting to Mkhize’s remarks about churches, Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo said the league’s proposal  was “preparing people for hell on earth.”

“Decriminalised prostitution does nothing to help women and children trapped in prostitution. It only institutionalises and legitimises prostitution making it more socially acceptable,” he says in a newsletter today.

“The people who benefit most from a decriminalised sex industry are the pimps, brothel owners, crime syndicates and traffickers. They become legitimate business people and can ply their evil trade with impunity. Decriminalised prostitution is the worst scenario for corrupt prone SA,” he says.

In a report on the ANCWL and prostitution today, Daily Maverick says that “while the Women’s League says the Commission is ‘investigating new prostitution laws’, it is worth noting this investigation began in May 1996 and has not yet returned any report”.

The online newspaper also presents some other points of view on legalising prostitution, including the view off former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, that it would reduce the incidence of rape; and a view that it would facilitate more effective HIV and public health management.


  1. Lafras Moolman

    Our Goverments needs urgent prayer, if they make decisions like this they do not deserve to be in Power at all Sorry it might sound harsh but is just my view A lady should be treated with dignity and respect at all times

  2. Prostitution degrades woman. I don’t know of any other job, that requires drugs to be able to carry on. Most prostitutes were forced into prostitution. Prostitution promotes therefore un-choice! It is pity we have an educational deputy minister like this!!

  3. SA needs a contituency based electoral system. People like Hlengiwe must sell their evil ideas to their constituencies. She must not use current system to bring in prostitution through the backdoor. Alternatively, ANC must put legalisation to a referendum-democracy at work. If ANC conference adopts this proposal, I will never-ever vote for them because I’ll be giving them the mandate to introduce legislation legalising prostitution as they did with abortion, same sex marriages. Hell in SA is coming if left unchecked. Let’s start a campaign for new electoral system so as to get rid of people like Hlkengiwe

  4. Pingback: Sex Work in Africa: To legalise or Decriminalise? « Geteria on Law

  5. Whether we like it or not is happening, and I hate it. Pretending it doesn’t exist is not a solution. Putting our heads in the sand won’t help, we need a solution. My son works at a restaurant on Rivonia road I have to collect him every Friday and Saturday evening, you will be forgiven if you think a bus is coming. That street is prostitution town. Something have to be done what I don’t know. Democracy comes with rights and those right include the right to chose, and some of them they choose. Legalizing it mate not be bad. My 5c worth

  6. if the women’s league is very sure of decriminalizing prostitution referring to the freedom of choice then let them teach the women and young maiden to chose justly and clarify to these who would be involve in this lake of hell about the negative effect of being involved in prostitution that LAST A LEGTH OF PERIOD WHICH IS MORE THAT THE JUBILANT THAT THEY EXPERIENCE BECAUSE OF THE INCOME THROUGH PROSTITUTION