The Democratic Alliance is outraged at the thought that the Department of Education wants to create a draconian database of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) learners.
In an email sent to schools around the province, the Special Programmes Unit Head Office instructed schools to provide them with a list of all LGBTI learners from their schools by close of business the same day.
The email claims that the data is for a workshop to raise awareness of LGBTI rights, being held on the 30th of October 2018, at Mpekweni Beach Hotel Resort, but goes on to say that only 10 learners will be selected to attend, while the rest will be added to a database.
This is irregular, irresponsible and unconstitutional.
The creation of a database of learners belonging to the LGBTI community is an infringement on the privacy of the lifestyles of these learners and, in the wrong hands, could very easily result in physical harm.
While South Africa has come a long way with LGBTI rights, more needs to be done to create safe and non-discriminative environments, at work, at school, at home, and in at-risk communities across the African continent.
In a climate where “corrective rape” and assault based on sexual preference is commonplace, we cannot afford to expose members of this community to further risk and discrimination.
The Democratic Alliance has no problem with the holding of the workshop for advocacy purposes, for others to have a better understanding of the diverse nature of lifestyles amongst us, and how best to deal with it.
It would have been proper to have invited representatives from Learner Representative Councils from schools within the districts. Targeting LGBTI learners to discuss their rights is preaching to the converted.
I have written to the director of the Special Programmes Unit, Mr Mtirara, requesting that the request for names to be forwarded should be stopped immediately, and that District offices must be instructed not to continue with the creation of these illegal and discriminatory databases.
I will also be asking the acting MEC of Education, Mlungisi Mvoko, for clarity on this issue.
The Democratic Alliance will continue to work on fostering a culture of acceptance and support. Grounded in our values of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity, we are building One South Africa for All.