Brothers question disciplinary action
TWO brothers who attended a provincial youth camp aimed at promoting nation-building and social cohesion have come out in support of a top Bhisho official who allegedly defied orders that whites not be allowed to attend.
Jesse and Joshua van Rensburg yesterday said if the allegations were true that social development youth head Masiza Mazizi was ordered by MEC Nancy Sihlwayi to exclude whites then she should be charged instead.
Social Development head of department Stanley Khanyile yesterday confirmed Mazizi would appear before a disciplinary hearing for allegedly leaking internal, sensitive and confidential information to the media.
He said Sihlwayi denied ever issuing instructions that white youth be excluded from the camp.
“The MEC (Sihlwayi) told me there was never an instruction that white people not be allowed to attend,” said Khanyile.
“We have reason to believe he (Mazizi) disclosed information to the media and he will either dispute or deny it at the hearing.”
All Mazizi would say yesterday when approached for comment by the Daily Dispatch was that he had received the charges from the department late last year and that he had appointed lawyers to represent him in the hearing.
He declined to comment further.
According to Jesse, 16, and Joshua van Rensburg, 18, they were part of a group of six white youths who were asked days before if they wanted to attend the camp.
Josh said the camp met its aims of nation-building and social cohesion and that he walked away from the experience the better for it.
“I came out with a better understanding of the struggles the black youth face,” he explained.
Josh, however, admitted he felt hurt and disappointed when he heard afterward that instructions had allegedly been given to exclude whites.
The brothers, who are home-schooled on a farm near Port Alfred and dream of becoming professional cricketers, said they both made several good friends with whom they were still in contact.
Jesse said he would not hesitate to do the camp again and that he had learned a lot about Xhosa and African culture.
Their father, Jaco, said it was unfair that Mazizi was being hauled over the coals despite claims that Sihlwayi ordered no whites attend.
He said Sihlwayi should be under disciplinary investigation if the allegations to exclude whites was true.
Despite her denials, Sihlwayi in a statement to the Daily Dispatch last year following the matter said: “It is common knowledge that government is short of funds to achieve our objectives and improve lives of our people, therefore it is my duty to ensure that taxpayers’ money spent on these camps is correctly targeted and utilised to empower disadvantaged black youth.”
DA provincial chairwoman and MPL Veliswa Mvenya last year wrote to Bhisho legislature speaker Noxolo Kiviet asking her to refer the MEC to the institution’s ethics committee for alleged “racism and human rights violations”.
Mvenya also handed over a letter of complaint to South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) asking it to investigate Sihlwayi’s conduct.
The Dispatch was yesterday unable to ascertain the progress of the investigation at the time of writing. — DAVID MACGREGOR, Senior Reporter — email@example.com