/ 28 February 2013

Xingwana comes under fire for ‘unacceptable’ report

Minister for Women
Minister for Women

This came after Xingwana's department was already given a postponement in December, but the documents Members of Parliament were supposed to receive to allow them to ask informed questions were only delivered on Tuesday night, reported the Beeld on Thursday.

Furthermore, many of the MPs agreed on Wednesday that the report was a mess.

According to parliamentary rules, MPs are supposed to receive documents at least 48 hours before a meeting.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday also requested the suspension of Xingwana's department and called for her to be axed.

Exasperated MPs, among them ANC members, sent her and her delegation back to the drawing board.

Xingwana apologised on behalf of her department and asked whether she could submit a preliminary report.

"This is unacceptable, but the department has worked so hard."

DA walk out
After quibbling for an hour, the DA walked out of the meeting.

The DA's Helen Lamoela said the department was allocated R198.3-million in the 2013/14 financial year, but "there is nothing to show for it except lavish parties, trips abroad and designer furniture".

According to her, the money could have trained 16 000 specialist detectives or built 20 police stations.

The parliamentary spat came after an interview with Xingwana – in which she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that young Afrikaner men were raised to believe they owned women and children – aired on Monday.

"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," she said during the interview.

Xingwana was being interviewed on the arrest and murder charge against Olympian and Paralympian Oscar Pistorius following the February 14 fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Following public outcry on Wednesday, the minister responded by saying: "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 to them."

Presidency responds
According to reports, following the minister's apology the presidency on Tuesday said: "No single cultural group should be blamed for the scourge of violence against women and children."

“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,” said spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Wednesday night.

“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.” – Sapa