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Johannesburg - Women's Minister Lulu Xingwana's remarks on “Calvinist” Afrikaner men were a crude generalisation and factually wrong, the Freedom Front Plus said on Wednesday.
“The comments say more about the minister's own twisted view of Afrikaners than of real Calvinism, which preaches the exact opposite,” FFPlus leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement.
Xingwana was in Cabinet in Cape Town ahead of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's Budget Speech, her spokesman Cornelius Monama said when asked for comment. He hoped to receive a response from her later.
Xingwana made the remarks on Monday in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in a segment on the arrest and murder charge against paralympian Oscar Pistorius.
In the segment, which also looked at violence and gun ownership in South Africa, she said: “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.”
Mulder said: “If the same generalisations had been made about young black men, who per capita commit the most murders in South Africa, the minister would have been the first to have screamed racism and unfair generalisations.”
Mulder said the FFPlus would raise Xingwana's comments in Parliament and would submit a complaint to the SA Human Rights Commission.
“I will also be raising this issue in Cabinet as an example of irresponsible comments which do not make any contribution toward better relations in South Africa.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the Christian Democratic Party said President Jacob Zuma had no option but to fire Xingwana.
“Many non-Afrikaners, black and white, are members of Calvinist churches and her latest statement could be considered as religious intolerance,” said CDP spokesman Rev Theunis Botha.
“The country does not need demolishers in Cabinet or any other place in government, but bridge-builders.”
The Afrikanerbond said Xingwana had “abused her office” and did not reflect honour or dignity in her position.
“This minister has proven beyond any doubt that she is not fit to hold office in a constitutional democracy,” Afrikanerbond secretary Jan Bosman said in a statement.
He noted that she had also said: “We also have cultural differences as well in our own communities, where we have women who are forced into marriage, and we are dealing with all those issues.”
In the ABC report, which aired on Monday, the focus was on how the Pistorius case highlighted gun violence in South Africa.
“I would ask him to tell the truth. I would ask him to respect women,” Xingwana said.
“I would ask him to get rid of all his guns. Because I believe if he did not have guns in his home, Reeva Steenkamp would be alive today.”
Bosman said Xingwana's statements were an “extreme verbal attack on the integrity of Afrikaners”.
“It is unwarranted, uncalled for and without any substance. At the very least the minister owes Afrikaners, men, women and children, an apology without any reservations,” Bosman said.
“We can only deduce that she chose to attack Afrikaners to create a smokescreen for her total lack of any programme of action whilst 1/8minister 3/8 and to deflect from the serious allegations of corruption and mismanagement in her department and her failure to provide a report with details about these allegations to Parliament.”
The Afrikanerbond would take up the matter with Zuma's office for the president to “act against one of the most incompetent ministers in his Cabinet”, Bosman said.
Meanwhile, Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum said on Tuesday it was considering bringing a complaint before the Equality Court against Xingwana.
“Xingwana's remarks boil down to a blatant contravention of various sections of the Promotion of Equality and the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act,” spokesman Ernst Roets said in a statement.
“She has discriminated on the basis of race, faith and gender. On top of that, she clearly lacks the necessary expertise to talk knowledgeably on the topic.”
Roets said AfriForum had submitted the matter to its legal team. - Sapa