12 October 2015
Over in South Africa's Kwazulu Natal Province the mysterious workings of the country's ruling ANC party have done strange and unexplicable things again.
Umzinyathi District Mayor James Mthethwa, who claimed that homosexuals spread Aids and then resigned from his position last month, has now been promoted by the ANC to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
The DA and the Gay and Lesbian Network wrote to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) saying Mthethwa’s comments amounted to hate speech.
Mthethwa was speaking at the Umzinyathi community health work training project in Dundee in August when he allegedly made the comments. He reportedly made assertions blaming “gay people for spreading HIV and Aids and [that they] must be stopped”.
At first Mthethwa allegedly denied making the comments, but two weeks later resigned as district mayor. The Umzinyathi District Municipality in Dundee released an apology for the statements made by Mthethwa.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal this week appointed Mthethwa to the NCOP.
“It was only the DA that stood in solidary with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex [LGBTI] community in today’s KZN Legislature sitting whilst all other parties supported the ANC nomination of former disgraced and homophobic mayor Mthethwa,” said DA NCOP member Mergan Chetty.
However, provincial secretary for the ANC Sihle Zikalala denied that Mthethwa was forced to resign after his statement about homosexuals.
Zikalala said Mthethwa’s redeployment to the NCOP was part of the party’s approach to strengthen itself in the council and “ensure a link with the regional executive committee”.
When asked on how the ANC dealt with Mthethwa following his comments on homosexuals, he did not respond.
Chetty claimed that Mthethwa was not disciplined for his comments and the ANC’s practice of redeployment without disciplinary processes is a “slap in the face to the LGBTI community, South Africa at large and our constitution”.
He said the DA is urging the ANC to recall Mthethwa from his new position.
“The DA finds it intolerable that the ANC would appoint a man to represent South Africans, yet he has directly violated the South African Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”