Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane File picture: Phill Magakoe/ANA Pictures

Parliament - Cabinet was urging law enforcement agencies to take action against the "white men" responsible for hanging an effigy of Gauteng Education MEC in Pretoria earlier this week, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday.

Briefing journalists on Wednesday's fortnightly cabinet meeting, Mokonyane described the incident as "disturbing" especially because it took place in the same month the country was commemorating the killings of struggle stalwarts Solomon Mahlangu, who was hung by the apartheid government in 1979, and Chris Hani, who was assassinated in 1993.

"On behalf of government we refuse any kind of temptation to take us back to where we come from and we don't also believe that this is the attitude of many white fellow South Africans," she said.

"We want to warn South Africans as well that there are laws now that actually criminalises hate speech and any act that seeks to inflict and promote division on the basis of race, on the basis of colour...and we do urge the law enforcement agencies, because those white men have actually come out and shown themselves in their pictures,...action must be taken."

Panyaza Lesufi has been criticised for moves to introduce dual language policies at schools to ensure language was not used to bar black pupils from attending certain schools.

Mokonyane called on white South Africans to distance themselves from those who hung the effigy.

"We call on patriotic white South Africans to stand up and say 'not in my name'," she said.

African News Agency/ANA