Presidency reassures Afrikaner community

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj

Published Feb 28, 2013


Johannesburg - No single cultural group should be blamed for the scourge of violence against women and children, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

“We wish to assure the Afrikaner community and all South Africans that the government's commitment to non-racialism and diversity as enshrined in the Constitution of the republic remains unwavering,” spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

It was issued following Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana's earlier apology for her comments about Afrikaner men.

Said Maharaj: “The contribution of Afrikaner males in the fight against gender-based violence and also generally to the building of a united, caring and prosperous South Africa, is as valuable as that of all South Africans.”

Xingwana told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday that young Afrikaner men were raised to believe they owned women and children.

She was being interviewed following the arrest of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius after his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead at his Pretoria home two weeks ago.

“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,” Xingwana 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.”

Xingwana said in her apology: “It has become clear to me that my comments may have offended some members of our community. I would, accordingly, like to retract these remarks and apologise unconditionally for them.”

Earlier, the Afrikanerbond said Xingwana had proven beyond doubt that she was not fit to hold office in a constitutional democracy.

The Christian Democratic Party called for President Jacob Zuma to fire her.

“Many non-Afrikaners, black and white, are members of Calvinist churches and her latest statement could be considered as religious intolerance,” party spokesperson Reverend Theunis Botha said. - Sapa

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