Women’s rights activists have expressed outrage that they have been denied the right to protest at a charity event hosted by Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg in which Mike Tyson and Jacob Zuma will share the platform as guests of honour.

Members of the One in Nine Campaign had planned to protest outside the event on Wednesday because of Tyson’s previous rape conviction of an 18 year old woman, Desiree Washington, in 1992 and his “disrespect… for women’s rights…”

The former boxer has also been accused of beating his ex-wife Robin Givens.

“He has proved less than ideal as a role model in either his sporting or personal life,” said the group.

The activists also slammed ANC president Zuma, claiming that his statements prior, during and post his 2006 rape trial reveal his patriarchal beliefs on men and women’s roles and rights in South Africa, even though he was acquitted of the charges.

“Despite his apologies and explanations immediately after the rape trial for statements made during the trial, Mr Zuma has done little to assuage the fears of women and women’s rights organisations,” said Carrie Shelver from the One In Nine.

“It is in the face of this and the extraordinarily high level of violence committed against women in South Africa on a daily basis that this pairing of Zuma and Tyson is particularly distasteful and abhorrent to the members of the One in Nine Campaign.”

In the course of applying for permission to stage a peaceful protest outside Emperor’s Palace, the activists were informed by the Johannesburg International Airport Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police that Emperor’s Palace is a national key point and that public gatherings are prohibited at national key points.

Shelver said that the “One in Nine Campaign is deeply disappointed by the denial of our constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and peaceful public assembly.”

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