The ANC’s parliamentary caucus on Saturday said that it was committed to non-racialism and non-sexism, amid a social media furore over what it called a “routine filling in of a vacancy”.
The storm arose over the election of Chinese-born Xiaomei Havard to the National Assembly, as a member of the parliamentary caucus. Havard is set to replace the late Jackson Mthembu as Minister in the Presidency. She was sworn in on Wednesday.
However, the ANC received a backlash on social media, with many arguing that South African-born citizens should be favoured in political appointments.
In a statement, chief whip Pemmy Majodina said the appointments had been made on the basis of non-sexism and non-racialism.
“The ANC Parliamentary Caucus has noted with grave concern the social media storm generated by the routine filling in of a vacancy in its 2019 national to national candidates list,” Majodina said.
“It was … commitment to our long held bedrock principle on non-racialism and non-sexism that saw Comrade Xiaomei Havard elected to our National Assembly as a member of our Parliamentary Caucus.”
Havard is a trained ICT professional, a computer scientist, businesswoman, and a philanthropist with a PhD.
READ MORE: ANC arrogance on display again
She has lived in South Africa since 1994 and is married to a South African citizen. According to the statement from the caucus, Havard had supported the ANC through Chinese political structures since childhood. In 2009, she stood in the elections on an ANC ticket.
“The African National Congress included her name in the national list and her appointment meets constitutional muster and is allowed,” said Majodina.
“It is also important to recall that the South African National Assembly has had Members of Parliament of different origins who had been naturalised in our system who were not South African by birth, including the former Minister of Housing the late Comrade Joe Slovo.”