The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has slapped Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko with a one-day punishment for her utterances towards her subordinates, which went viral.

Mazibuko has been ordered to attend a one-day sensitivity and diversion programme.

City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba is likely to get a similar punishment, following his comments that have been perceived to be xenophobic.

In December 2016, the DA mayor said illegal immigrants in the country were criminals.

“They are holding our country to ransom and I am going to be the last South African to allow it,” he said at the time.

READ: No place for xenophobia in Johannesburg – Mashaba

The commission has ordered Mazibuko to attend the programme before her term of office comes to an end on May 8.

Mazibuko again tendered an unreserved apology to her senior officials and to everyone who could have been harmed by her utterances when she lashed out at two senior staffers.  

In the clip, a furious-sounding Mazibuko can be heard demanding that planned “combi courts” which can be used for a variety of sporting codes, would boost votes for the ANC in the May 8 elections.

During her tirade, she chastised her staffers – believed to be an Indian woman and a white woman – for talking back to her.

Addressing the media at the commission’s offices in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Mazibuko said she was invited by the commission to clarify what really happened on that day.

Mazibuko, who is the ANC Women’s League Chairperson in Gauteng, claimed that as a gender activist, she will not stop fighting for the rights of women and children.

She said on that day, the Chief Financial Officer, Head of Department and chief directors were present and they were discussing challenges in her department. They made mention of under-spending on the budget, which had happened in the previous financial year.

“During the meeting, I was informed that our contract with Sports Trust to build combi courts had ended. The explanation given to me was not convincing because we needed to roll out facilities to the communities. I became angry and it was uncalled for.”

Loud and sound shouting 

“I know that at times I may be loud and sound as if I was shouting at them. It may also be construed that I was bullying and threatening them. It may also sound as if I was targeting the CFO and HOD who are responsible for the functioning of the department. It was not my intention to ridicule them. I was only trying to make them aware that the previous financial year we applied for a (budget) rollover.

“I take full responsibility and should not be the one shouting at my staff. I tender an unconditional apology to everyone affected by my behaviour. I will work with the commission and all those who are interested to continue fighting for their rights,” said Mazibuko.

READ: Faith Mazibuko rejects claims that financial rules were flouted for combi courts elections ploy

Mazibuko added that she was awaiting the outcome of an ANC Integrity Commission hearing where she also appeared following her outburst. 

“I still have to hear the outcome and verdict from the Integrity Commission. It is not true that I wanted to campaign, using those combi courts. It was a frustration of having to face communities after we had made promises to them. Our relationship with the two officials is okay. We have been summoned by Premier David Makhura where they committed to working with me and they said they need my leadership skills,” she said. 

SAHRC deputy commissioner Priscilla Jana promised that the details of Mazibuko’s punishment will be drafted soon.

“We have accepted her unconditional apology. We are happy she will attend our sensitivity and diversion programme.  She has promised to comply with our programme. We have received complaints about her comments. We too felt that her comments could be perceived as racist and divisive. We are looking at a programme [which is] suitable for her and will look at how to implement it,” said Jana.

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