Port Elizabeth – The DA will ask the SA Human Rights Commission to investigate Eastern Cape social development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi “for racism and human rights abuses”.
Democratic Alliance provincial chair Veliswa Mvenya on Sunday claimed the MEC instructed her staff to exclude children from a government youth camp last month on the basis of race.
But her department shot down this allegation, stating it fully understood the provisions of the Constitution and law.
“We will not encourage or promote discrimination against any kid of any race,” said head of department Stanley Khanyile on Sunday.
Mvenya said the party had also reported Sihlwayi to the provincial legislature ethics committee.
The Daily Dispatch recently reported that the department’s head of youth development, Masiza Mazizi, faced “being hauled over the coals” for apparently ignoring an instruction on the youth event.
It reported that Sihlwayi’s chief of staff, Sakhekile Ndudula, asked him in a letter why he submitted a report that there should be 10 members from the “white community” who were expected to attend.
Ndulula is reported to have said in the letter that MEC gave an instruction that this should not happen as poverty and underdevelopment was rife in African communities, and despite this, his office allegedly ignored the instruction.
Taken out of context’
Khanyile told News24 on Sunday that the youth camp held in Port Alfred was never intended to discriminate against any race.
“We are of the view that whatever may have been said and attributed to the MEC was somehow really taken out of context.”
He approved the concept document for the event and said the camp had focused on social cohesion as far as possible.
“The focus of the youth camp was primarily for poor, rural young people and the most vulnerable. We know from Statistics SA that the most vulnerable people in the past have been black people.”
He reiterated that any race was welcome and the document “absolutely” did not talk about excluding white children.
According to the newspaper, the camp was attended by around 200 disadvantaged youth, six of them white.
The DA is expected to deliver the written complaint to the commission today.
Jenna Etheridge, News24
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