Hogan says sorry - and survives

2009-04-16 13:01

Cape Town - Health Minister Barbara Hogan will keep her job after apologising to Cabinet colleagues for criticising the decision to bar the Dalai Lama from the country last month, government said on Thursday.

"I am confident she is not going anywhere," government spokesperson Themba Maseko told journalists at the fortnightly post-Cabinet briefing.

"She was able to apologise to colleagues because of the impression she may have created that the government does not respect human rights. "The matter was resolved to the satisfaction of everyone."

Hogan was reprimanded in March after she broke rank with colleagues and slammed government's decision to deny the Tibetan spiritual leader a visa to attend a peace conference linked to the 2010 Football World Cup.

Doing a good job

"Just the very fact that this government has refused entry to the Dalai Lama is an example of a government who is dismissive of human rights," said the minister.

"I believe [the government] needs to apologise to the citizens of this country, because it is in your name that this great man who has struggled for the rights of his country... has been denied access."

At the time, Maseko termed her statements "unfortunate" and said she should not have stepped out of line to "attack" a position taken by a government of which she formed part.

In another indication that Hogan would keep her portfolio in the incoming government, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa has told Die Burger that he believed she was doing a good job.

Phosa said if it were up to him, she would stay on after next week's elections but added that the appointment would be the prerogative of the new president.