Commission for Gender Equality to probe racist comments against Dlamini Zuma
Johannesburg - The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) plans to probe racist and social media posts that have been directed at Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The minister has over the past couple of weeks been subject to criticism for her role in drawing the government's lockdown regulations alongside Cabinet's National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).
Racists comments against her have intensified following her announcement that the government was backtracking on its decision to lift the ban on tobacco products. She has been projected as the face of the regulations even though the government has explained that NCCC decisions were taken collectively.
The CGE said on Monday night that it had a constitutional obligation to investigate the comments.
"The Commission notes that many of these posts have racist and sexist undertones and have been used to isolate and undermine her as a member of the National Command Centre (NCC) team as she executes her duties in the NCC during this Coronavirus pandemic," the commission said.
"The CGE is tasked by the Constitution and an act of Parliament to promote gender equality and the status of women in an effort to ensure that the rights of South Africans are upheld. It is thus for this reason that the CGE seeks to look into the matter of the social media post and ensure that human dignity and aspects pertaining to the Bill of Rights were not contravened.
"From the CGE’s perspective in relation to the social media post, it is important to note that, whilst any institution, group or members of the public are allowed to express themselves through the freedom of expression as in Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights, Section 11(1)a in an attempt to register their feelings, such undertaking should not occur at the expense of or violation of the rights of others. In our view, no right is absolute, and freedom of expression does not rank higher than equality," the commission explained.
The ANC and the ANC Women's League have come out in defence of Dlamini Zuma.
The Human Rights Commission is also investigating the social media posts directed at Dlamini Zuma.IOL