Outrage after alleged coloured remarks

2012-07-22 22:38
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Leandra - The deputy speaker of the Mpumalanga legislature, Violet Siwela, has rubbished allegations that she made racist remarks about coloured people during a by-election campaign last week.

Siwela was addressing a meeting in Lebohang near Leandra on Thursday evening when she was allegedly heard saying that the existence of coloured people was a direct consequence of Jan van Riebeeck's arrival at the Cape in 1652.

“I don't know that statement and I won't comment on something I do not know,” Siwela told African Eye News Service when contacted for comment.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province released a statement in which they demanded that Siwela apologise for the alleged remarks.

“These distasteful remarks clearly show both Siwela's and the ANC's complete disregard for reconciliation and redress in Mpumalanga and she must be called to order immediately.

"To this end, the DA demands a written apology from Siwela as well as from Premier [David] Mabuza, distancing the ANC and its members from racism and racist remarks,” said DA MPL James Masango.

Masango said the DA learnt that Siwela added that coloured people do not know where they come from and who their grandfathers are.

"Siwela claimed that black people belong to the ANC and not other opposition parties, whom she claimed are not committed to peace and democracy in South Africa.


"At this point one pastor called Siwela to order and said that remarks such as these were inflammatory, and could not be preached in church," said Masango.

One of the local pastors that attended the meeting confirmed with AENS that Siwela made a remark about coloured people and their connection to Jan van Riebeeck's arrival.

“She did say that. What I don't remember her saying was that black people only belong to the ANC and also I did not hear anyone calling her to order,” said the pastor, who asked not to be named.

Pastor Luke Dlamini, provincial chairperson of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) said such remarks are not expected of anyone living in South Africa.

"Our main focus is to build a rainbow nation and encourage unity in the country. We do not expect such from the politicians or anybody else," said Dlamini, who was not at the meeting.

He said the incident had also not been reported to the SACC.

Mabuza's spokesperson, Zibonele Mncwango, said the premier was not aware of the remarks attributed to Siwela.

"We don't even know the context in which she used [such words].

"It will only be fair that the DA approach her directly and if they still feel they are not satisfied, then they should ask her for that apology,” said Mncwango.


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Read more on:    david mabuza  |  mbombela  |  politics  |  racism

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