'All too often, individuals who have a genuine and legitimate need for gender reassignment are marginalised. All too often such people are not respected and their dignitary is often impinged on. This happens simply because people don’t, and sometimes refuse, to understand the affected person and his/her circumstances.'
The horrific tragedy saw foreign shop owners chased away from Diepsloot, in Gauteng Province, South Africa, as their businesses were looted in the violence. There are often xenophobic murders in South Africa, most do not make headlines, or even the middle pages of newspapers. This latest rioting occurred amidst false or true allegations that a Pakistani man shot a South African. Another suggestion is that a service delivery protest turned into an attack on foreigners. SABC news reported that locally owned businesses are flourishing, with their competition destroyed in a targeted ethnic cleansing.
The African National Congress has condemned 'so-called' xenophobic attacks, claiming the attackers are merely ordinary criminals.
Maybe this response was lacking, but I got a perplexing email from Manny De Freitas of the Democratic Alliance today, completely ignoring the horrific purge of foreigners, and instead focussing on those who were 'marginalised' by lack of cosmetic surgery upon their private parts.
One party condemns attacks on marginalised foreigners, the other, in emailing us, turns a blind eye, and instead considers this a time to push the cause of people desiring plastic/cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance?
I did not receive any email from the Democratic Alliance on Xenophobia, but they did mention it in a few tweets, blaming it on poverty, and saying the answer is to address poverty, and assist South African entrepreneurs.
Just before I quote the email, the DA has been busy on Twitter: mostly condeming a police strike, but also saying that in response to Xenophobia, which it says it 'condemns' and does not 'condone' on its Twitter, they say the answer is to fight poverty experienced by South Africans:
We can never condone acts of violence/ intimidation. Government needs to proactively address the poverty faced by SAns- @maimaneam— Democratic Alliance (@DA_News) May 28, 2013
We need to provide people with opportunities to better their lives and break the poverty cycle.- @maimaneam— Democratic Alliance (@DA_News) May 28, 2013
Practical solutions, such as the implementation of the Youth Wage Subsidy and better support for entrepreneurs would help - @maimaneam— Democratic Alliance (@DA_News) May 28, 2013
The DA appeals to the affected communities to end this violence and to adopt an attitude of tolerance and respect. - @maimaneam— Democratic Alliance (@DA_News) May 28, 2013
and on a police strike, this quote was interesting enough to quote:
And foreigners also, right?
And the email quote:
'Department of Health does not keep a database of gender reassignment surgical procedures that are performed in public sector facilities. There are currently two public sector clinics in South Africa with “specialised and skilled held care providers that perform gender reassignment surgical procedures.” These clinics are linked to the University of Pretoria (UP) and the University of Cape Town (UCT).
The Department of Health indicated that information at hand suggests that the UP clinic has performed more than a hundred procedures since its inception in 1990. The UCT has performed more than 10 such procedures since its inception in 2009.
All too often, individuals who have a genuine and legitimate need for gender reassignment are marginalised. All too often such people are not respected and their dignitary is often impinged on. This happens simply because people don’t, and sometimes refuse, to understand the affected person and his/her circumstances.
Acts such as Alternation of Sex Description and Sex Status Act ensures that the golden principles listed in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights is put into practice.
It is now up to each and every one of us to be supportive of this and to educate those that do not understand this issue.
Manny de Freitas MP
Member of Parliament
Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
Member of Parliament for Johannesburg South