Xenophobic hashtags trend on Twitter after ANC MP of Chinese heritage sworn in

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Xiaomei Havard sworn in as ANC MP on Wednesday.
Xiaomei Havard sworn in as ANC MP on Wednesday.
ANC Parliament
  • After ANC MP Xiaomei Havard was sworn in on Wednesday, xenophobic hashtags appeared on Twitter.
  • ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula and DA MP Cameron MacKenzie also joined in.
  • Acting ANC parliamentary caucus spokesperson, Nomfanelo Kota, said the ANC will remain true to its non-racist and non-sexist principles.

The ANC will remain true to its non-racist, non-sexist principles and not let the noise made by others keep it from governing the country.

This was acting ANC caucus spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota's response to the xenophobia directed on social media to one of the party's new MPs, Xiaomei Havard.

Havard was born in China, and was sworn in as an MP on Wednesday, along with four other new ANC MPs.

She replaces the late minister in the presidency, Jackson Mthembu. She is a naturalised South African citizen and is married to a South African.

Soon, the hashtags "#NoChineseInSAPaliarment" (sic) and "#SArejectsXiaomeiHavard" began trending on social network Twitter.

The hashtag "#PutSouthAfricansFirst", which last year emerged with xenophobic messages, also made an appearance.

ALSO READ | Parliament unites in praise of Jackson Mthembu

At least two MPs joined in.

ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula tweeted: "If a black person born in China can never be a member of the Chinese Parliament. Why does SA allow Chinese born person to be a member of the SA parliament and make laws for South Africans (sic)."

Later, he took aim at the Constitution he swore to uphold when he became an MP in 2019: "The problem is the Constitution that was crafted by a selected few to make the new South Africa appease its oppressors and the world. We need a Constitution that protects and affirms the dignity of indigenous South Africans."

DA MP Cameron MacKenzie tweeted: "If #NoChineseInSAParliarment was spelled correctly, it would be #NoChineseInSAParliament. That said, perhaps it's so the #CCP can keep an eye on the deadly loans we're about to get from #China. Who else would lend to a junked, quasi-socialist country on its knees? #TrojanHorse"

Tweet by DA MP Cameron MacKenzie

Soon after, his Twitter account was deleted - but, as is often the case, screengrabs saved his tweet for posterity.

Asked for comment, Kota told News24: "The ANC remains a non-racial, non-sexist organisation. The ANC is not going to change because others are making noise."

Havard was on the ANC's electoral list for the 2019 elections.

Kota pointed out it means she was vetted – not by the ANC, but by the Electoral Commission of South Africa.

She said it should be called for what it is: "It is a clear act of racism."

She added that the Constitution speaks about unity in diversity, and perhaps some MPs should read the Constitution.

The other new ANC MPs sworn in on Wednesday are Dingaan Jacob Myolwa from the Eastern Cape, replacing Pumza Dyantyi, Kavilan Pillay from KwaZulu-Natal, replacing Loyiso Mpumlwana, Nkosinathi Emmanuel Dlamini from KwaZulu-Natal, replacing Nomvuzo Shabalala, and Ponani Petunia Makhubele from Limpopo, replacing Nombulelo Hermans.

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