Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant

Johannesburg – A twar has broken out on Twitter after Department of Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant refused to speak English to Xolani Gwala during a 702 interview on Monday morning.

Earlier she had spoken to SABC’s Morning Live show in English, which irked both Gwala and the many listeners.

Throughout the morning people have been calling into the show both defending Oliphant and criticising her, with many supporting Gwala for cutting the interview short.

On Twitter @Mof_Slayer said it was disgusting and that Oliphant was supposed to be a public servant.

“It was was too early to be rude Lumka Oliphant, or was that the ‘emergency’ response? We see you and Bathabile Dlamini,” she said.

@politeecks commended the 702 team for the way they dealt with the situation.

"Lumka Oliphant is a total waste, well done Xolani, she was playing silly games. Don't be a part of that," he said.

@MeMekgoe said this was another stunt by Oliphant. “Clearly this lady doesn’t have answers!”she tweeted while [email protected]_komane accused Oliphant of being a “drunkard like her madam”.

“She just had to take out Babalas on us!? Tsek! Get yourself a cold one and resign,” he said.

Other tweeps were also furious with Oliphant

However some Twitter users came out in defence of both Oliphant and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and criticised Gwala for his behaviour.

@EsethuHasane said she can't believe “these black people on my mentions saying speaking an African language on 702 is disrespect” while @Thobe086 couldn’t understand “why people are so offended by Lumka Oliphant using an official language on a radio interview, especially black people”.

@GlenMothata came out in full support for Oliphant.

“For too long blacks who are ‘inadequate’ English speakers have been made a mockery of, especially by other blacks,” he said.

A frustrated @ka_madesi said that Oliphant had a right to speak any language she chooses. “Xolani should have summarised everything she said in English at the end. Simple,” he said.

Twitter user @Zafferology was saddened that people were defending Oliphant.

“Looking at some of the people defend Dlamini and Oliphant makes me sad that they don't realize their families are dependent on grants,” he said.

@MulugisiM said he would side with Lumka Oliphant had she insisted on speaking Xhosa on Morning Live which is watched nationally.

“Lumka Oliphant was trying to divert from the key issues and she did,” said @ThisIsThandile

“Now we are sweating over @gwalax not allowing her to speak isiXhosa,” she said.

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The Star