ANC: EFF’s use of Shangaan is tribalist, offensive

2015-03-18 08:25

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The motion of no confidence debate in President Jacob Zuma almost descended into chaos in Parliament yesterday when Economic Freedom Fighters MP Primrose Sonti referred to foreigners as Shangaans.

Sonti, who is from Marikana, took issue with the killing of 34 striking miners by the police there in August 2012.

She called Zuma a thief and accused him of sending the police to kill the striking miners “instead of giving them the R12 500 minimum wage they were striking for”.

Sonti said the only thing the government had done for the people of Marikana was deliver toilets “which were being sold to the Shangaans by ANC members”.

This led to objections from the ANC MPs, saying the use of the term was unparliamentary and also suggesting that Sonti’s statement was tribalist.

EFF leader Julius Malema sought to explain the use of the term “especially in Gauteng”. Malema said the term was used as a loose reference to foreigners.

Sonti refused to withdraw all the statements she made, and they were ruled unparliamentary.

The ANC later yesterday issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms the usage of the name of one of our nationalities, Shangaans, by Malema and Sonti to disparagingly refer to African foreigners”.

“The usage of such offensive slurs is unacceptable not only in the house of Parliament but also in our society. It is shameful that these two public representatives not only condone such language but actually use it even on a public platform of Parliament,” said ANC chief whip Stone Sizani.

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