Afrikaners to blame for abuse - minister
Johannesburg - Civil rights organisation Afri-Forum is considering bringing a complaint of discrimination before the Equality Court against the Minister of Women, Children, and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, after she was reported to have remarked on an Australian news programme that young Afrikaners and their Calvinistic faith should be blamed for violence against women and children in South Africa.
Xingwana said on the Australian news channel ABC News on Tuesday: “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.”
Ernst Roets, the deputy chief executive of AfriForum, said: “Xingwana’s remarks boil down to a blatant contravention of various sections of the Promotion of Equality and the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.
“She has discriminated on the basis of race, faith and gender,” it said.
“On top of that, she clearly lacks the necessary expertise to talk knowledgeably on the topic.” .
Roets added that AfriForum had submitted the matter to its legal team.
The Afrikanerbond also hit out at the minister, with a spokesman, Jan Bosman, saying on Tuesday night: “This is 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.
“This statement by Minister Xingwana is in direct conflict with the oath of office she (took) when she accepted this position.
“She has abused her office and does not in any way reflect honour to this position nor dignity.”
Meanwhile, Xingwana expressed disappointment on Tuesday at Oscar Pistorius being granted bail last week after the shooting in which his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, died early on February 14.
Pistorius has said in court that it was not, as the State alleges, premeditated murder. He said he mistook his girlfriend for a burglar when he fired the shots.
If there had been no gun in the Pistorius household, Steenkamp would be alive, Xingwana said during a briefing on government action on violence against women and children.
“I was disappointed that Oscar got bail. But I respect the decision of the court and I acknowledge strict measures have been put (in place), and he’s not a flight risk,” said the minister, who last week briefly attended Pistorius’s bail hearing.
“The real trial has not started. The trial will start in June. We look forward to the law taking its course.”
But sooner than that, Xingwana said, she wanted to see stricter gun control – particularly as women were three times more likely to die violently if there was a firearm in the house. There was no reason someone should have more than one gun.
“As women, we are saying, if there is no gun in your home, you are safe,” Xingwana added.
Guns account for the second-highest number of violent deaths, according to the SA Institute of Race Relations 2012 SA Survey.
Sharp blades account for most violent deaths.
Xingwana’s comments were made in Pretoria, before the parliamentary debate on “the growing rate of gender-based violence in our society”. She promised she would “catch up on this very important debate”.
Her failure to attend the debate was noted by Debbie Schafer, the DA’s spokeswoman on justice.
Xingwana’s comments came as Pistorius spent his first few days – still under the glare of the media – out of police custody after being granted R1 million bail by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Steenkamp’s death, following the rape, mutilation and murder of Anene Booysen, a Bredasdorp teenager, has galvanised a public outcry.