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Port Elizabeth - A division within the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape wants to create a database with the names of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) learners.

That’s according to the Democratic Alliance (DA) who says it is outraged at what it describes as a “draconian database” which is “irregular, irresponsible and unconstitutional”.

DA Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund Van Vuuren cited an email sent to schools around the province.

Van Vuuren said the Special Programmes Unit Head Office instructed schools to provide them with a list of all LGBTI learners from their schools. According to the email the data is for an imminent workshop to raise awareness of LGBTI rights. 

The workshop is expected to take place at the end of the month. The email says only 10 learners will be selected to attend the workshop, while the rest will be added to a database.

“The creation of a database of learners belonging to the LGBTI community is an infringement on the privacy of the lifestyles of these learners and, in the wrong hands, could very easily result in physical harm”. 

In a climate where “corrective rape” and assault based on sexual preference is commonplace, we cannot afford to expose members of this community to further risk and discrimination, Van Vuuren said. 

The DA said it had no problem with the holding of the workshop for advocacy purposes, however, it would have been proper to have invited representatives from Learner Representative Councils from schools within the districts.  

Van Vuuren has since written to the director of the Special Programmes Unit, Mr Mtirara, requesting that the request for names to be forwarded should be stopped immediately, and that District offices must be instructed not to continue with the creation of “illegal and discriminatory” databases.

The Department of Education was not immediately available to comment. 

African News Agency (ANA)