Calls mount for Xingwana to be axed despite apology

2013-02-28 16:38

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Despite her apology, calls for department of women, children and people with disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana’s sacking or resignation for her comments on young Afrikaner men and Calvinism have mounted.

The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) said in a statement today she should be fired.

The party’s leader, Theunis Botha, said: “The CDP welcomes minister Lulu Xingwana’s unconditional apology to the Afrikaner, as well as the presidency’s, repudiation. As a Christian party we also forgive her.

“Our previous call that she should be fired was, however, based on other factors as well, and these have not changed.”

This was after Xingwana told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that young Afrikaner men were raised to believe they owned women and children.

“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 said during the interview aired on Monday.

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

Xingwana apologised yesterday, saying: “It has become clear to me that my comments may have offended some members of our community. I would, accordingly, like to retract these remarks and apologise unconditionally to them.”

Botha said Xingwana had a record of failure even as a deputy minister.

“The latest reports regarding her department, as well as her own conduct, all indicate that she does not have what it takes to hold such a high office,” he said.

The comments she made about farmers raping and assaulting their workers in 2007 had not been retracted nor apologised for.

“We can thus at this time not come to any other conclusion but that she is unfit to be a minister. This is especially true in a country with such a diverse population as South Africa. Forgiving her does not make her a suitable candidate for a ministerial post,” Botha said.

Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum sent a letter to Xingwana today to ask her to resign from her post.

AfriForum spokesperson Ernst Roets said in a statement the organisation appreciated her apology and was grateful for it, but she had to lend credence and substance to the apology by submitting the apology to ABC in Australia.

And she had to follow Jacaranda presenter Darren Scott’s example by resigning from her post.

Roets said: “The differences are that Scott was not a representative of the public and his remarks were made to a black colleague at a private function, while Xingwana’s remarks were broadcast on international television.”

According to him, Xingwana’s “incompetence” was another reason why her resignation had become necessary.

“Her department is dysfunctional and she cannot prove that she has made the lives of women and children better in any way. It is an embarrassment to the government,” he said.

Earlier today, the United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation said Xingwana’s apology appeared contrived.

“Although the minister has now apologised, she sounds contrived and the only reason she has apologised is that she was forced to, and not because she was genuinely remorseful,” secretary-general Thandi Nontenja said in a statement.

It seemed as though Xingwana had “difficulty controlling what comes out of her mouth”.

The ministry of women, children, and people with disabilities was necessary to promote equality and give expression to the Constitution, “...but we want Mrs Xingwana to pack her bags of her own volition, or President [Jacob] Zuma must show her the door so that someone capable can properly take the reins of this department”.

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