SAHRC to study Xingwana footage

2013-02-27 19:37
Women, Children and People with Disability Minister Lulu Xingwana (Picture: GCIS)

Women, Children and People with Disability Minister Lulu Xingwana (Picture: GCIS)

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Johannesburg - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will study footage on Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana's comments about young Afrikaner men and Calvinism, it said.

"We are in the process of collating information on this matter, including reviewing the transcripts from the interview, and we will make pronouncements and engage with the relevant stakeholders in due course," the commission said.

"We, however, believe that any attempt by any person to make gross generalisations that cast aspersions on any language, race or religious group is something completely unacceptable and not keeping with our Constitution," said Isaac Mangena.

This follows complaints from some organisations about comments she made during an Australian Broadcasting Commission interview on Oscar Pistorius and violence in South African society.

The remark that caused the reaction was: "Young Afrikaner men are brought up in the Calvinist religion believing that they own a woman, they own a child, they own everything and therefore they can take that life because they own it."

She added: "We also have cultural differences as well in our own communities where we have women who are forced into marriage and we are dealing with all those issues."

The segment followed Pistorius being charged for murder after his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in his house.

The Democratic Alliance were among those who asked that the commission should investigate the matter.

"This is an offensive and divisive remark," said DA national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane.

"The [SAHRC] must investigate it; and the minister should apologise and formally withdraw her comment," said Maimane, who described the comment as a "gross generalisation" and "ill-informed".

Maimane said no ethnic or racial group could be singled out in the fight against violence against women and children.

"It is a societal problem that we must all face together," he said.

Twisted view

The Freedom Front Plus said the remarks were a crude generalisation and factually wrong.

"The comments say more about the minister's own twisted view of Afrikaners than of real Calvinism, which preaches the exact opposite," said FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder.

Xingwana was in Cabinet in Cape Town, her spokesperson Cornelius Monama said when asked for comment. He hoped to receive a response from her soon.

Mulder said: "If the same generalisations had been made about young black men, who per capita commit the most murders in South Africa, the minister would have been the first to have screamed racism and unfair generalisations."

Mulder said the FF Plus would raise Xingwana's comments in Parliament and would submit a complaint to the commission.

"I will also be raising this issue in Cabinet as an example of irresponsible comments which do not make any contribution toward better relations in South Africa."

Earlier on Wednesday, the Christian Democratic Party said President Jacob Zuma had no option but to fire Xingwana.

"Many non-Afrikaners, black and white, are members of Calvinist churches and her latest statement could be considered as religious intolerance," said CDP spokesperson Rev Theunis Botha.

"The country does not need demolishers in Cabinet or any other place in government, but bridge-builders."

The Afrikanerbond said Xingwana had "abused her office" and did not reflect honour or dignity in her position.

"This minister has proven beyond any doubt that she is not fit to hold office in a constitutional democracy," Afrikanerbond secretary Jan Bosman said in a statement.

Bosman said Xingwana's statements were an "extreme verbal attack on the integrity of Afrikaners".

"It is unwarranted, uncalled-for and without any substance. At the very least the minister owes Afrikaners, men, women and children, an apology without any reservations," Bosman said

"We can only deduce that she chose to attack Afrikaners to create a smoke-screen for her total lack of any programme of action whilst [minister] and to deflect from the serious allegations of corruption and mismanagement in her department and her failure to provide a report with details about these allegations to Parliament."

The Afrikanerbond would take up the matter with Zuma's office.

Meanwhile, Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum said on Tuesday it was considering bringing a complaint before the Equality Court against Xingwana.

Roets said AfriForum had submitted the matter to its legal team.

Read more on:    da  |  ff plus  |  sahrc  |  mmusi maimane  |  lulu xingwana  |  jacob zuma  |  politics

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