Woman claims City staff mocked her for Arabic name

2020-01-21 15:00

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A woman has complained of being mocked by City Hall staff for her Arabic name and for not providing a praise name.

The woman had gone to get a “proof of address” letter from her ward councillor, but she was treated in a dismissive and rude manner.

“The ladies on duty told me I was holding them up from going home, yet it was only 2.30 pm when I got there,” said the woman, who did not want to be named.

She said that she was asked to produce her ward number and the name of her ward councillor, but that because she did not know, she was met with further hostility. “They very rudely told me to just say if I don’t know what I am talking about. They were loud and gave me an unnecessary attitude,” said the woman.

The woman said the staff also asked her what her ethnicity was because they could not reconcile her name with the fact that was addressing them in fluent Zulu.

“They ridiculed my Arabic name and surname and kept telling me to state my praise names.

“They wanted me to say whether I am Zulu or Xhosa, and they did all of this while laughing at me mockingly,” she said.

The woman told The Witness on Monday: “I never thought that as a black person in a country that has been through so much, I would experience racial slurs from another black person like myself; simply because I have an Arabic name and surname. How is it part of their job description? These people take advantage of the fact that they have jobs while there are so many others out there who could do their job 10 times better and with a smile,” said the woman in a Facebook post.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo told The Witness that the incident had not been reported to the municipality. “We apologise to the lady as such actions reflect negatively on the municipality, and we hope that she can come forward and furnish us with more details in order to take the matter forward and ensure that such actions are not repeated,” said Ngcobo.

The provincial manager of the Public Servants Association in Pietermaritzburg, Charles Ngubane, speaking in his personal capacity, said public servants are committed to providing quality service to customers and clients.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality
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