Alleged infighting in gender commission exposed, Mbuyiselo Botha apologises after leaked attack on colleagues

‘It was in bad taste’

04 August 2021 - 09:02
By Iavan Pijoos
The Commission for Gender Equality is investigating remarks made by commissioner Mbuyiselo Botha. File photo
Image: Gallo Images/Foto24/Bongiwe Gumede The Commission for Gender Equality is investigating remarks made by commissioner Mbuyiselo Botha. File photo

Gender activist Mbuyiselo Botha has unreservedly apologised to his colleagues, saying his recent comments were in “bad taste” and “out of character”.

This after a sound clip emerged in which a man, purported to be Botha, referred to fellow commissioner Nomasonto Mazibuko as “this albino” in a telephone conversation he had during a break from the Commission for Gender Equality’s (CGE) recent plenary session.

The Sunday World reported that Botha, who is one of the commissioners, also launched an attack on its chairperson Tamara Mathebula, accusing her of lacking backbone.

“We were in a meeting of commissioners where we were talking about corporate governance and staff morale in the organisation,” Botha told TimesLIVE.

“There are a lot of issues the public doesn’t know because some of us won’t leak the records.

“It is one of the important institutions but there are individuals who are part of the commission who do things that are uncalled for, that are, in fact, destroying the organisation. Some of us are standing up and in the process you become passionate and you do things that [see] you cross the line.”

Minister in the presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has expressed her disappointment and shock over the comments.

Nkoana-Mashabane said Mazibuko was known for her “strong work” on albinism and fighting against discriminatory attitudes and practices against persons with disabilities.

“I was completely flabbergasted when I heard the clip. I had to listen to it again to make sure I was hearing correctly. This is an unbelievable injustice.

“This type of behaviour and attitude, especially from someone who has been tasked to uphold the rights of all citizens, is a stain on the country’s moral fabric,” Nkoana-Mashabane said. 

She called on the commission to urgently intervene and investigate the matter.

“I am of the view that the speaker in the voice clip must resign and the CGE must distance itself from any person of such questionable character.”

CGE spokesperson Javu Baloyi said the commission has instituted internal processes “geared towards ensuring this matter is urgently addressed”.

“As soon as there is finalisation of the processes employed, the commission will communicate the outcomes to the relevant authorities.”

Botha said he would not step down and would wait for “due processes” to be followed.