NEWS & ANALYSIS

Racist comment sparks DA walk-out from KZN Legislature - Sizwe Mchunu

New member says 'this white man must shut up', Speaker fails to take action

Racist comment sparks DA walk-out from KZN Legislature

22 September 2016

The DA today walked out of a KZN Legislature Sitting after the Speaker refused to rule on the matter of DA MPL, Francois Rodgers, being told “akathule lomlungu” meaning “this white man must shut up”. The comment was made by a new member of the Legislature, Sifiso Sonjica

Following the remark the DA asked ANC MPL, Happy Blose – the Chair in this instance - to rule on the matter on the basis that the comment was not parliamentary and both racist and divisive. She refused to do so.

Hon Blose failed to act swiftly and decisively on an issue of racism is extremely disappointing. The incident took place directly after a productive round of debates regarding South Africa’s rich heritage. It was during these same debates that Sonjica delivered his maiden speech.

Today’s events confirm that the ANC, through the provincial legislature, continues to pay lip service to issues of social cohesion and anti-racism.

The DA will write to Legislature Speaker, Lydia Johnson, requesting that she urgently rule on this sensitive matter, one which goes to the core of what we stand for as a legislature.

We expect swift intervention from her.

Issued by Sizwe Mchunu, Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature, 22 September 2016