National 30.8.2016 04:56 pm

EFF’s Mandisa says she fought ‘racist’ KPMG

EFF MPL member Mandisa Mashego. Picture: Refilwe Modise

EFF MPL member Mandisa Mashego. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The deputy chairperson of the EFF in Gauteng says she fought against her colleagues’ language assumptions and ‘won’ without having mass support.

In the wake of a heightened awareness about language policy being interpreted as “racism”, the deputy chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng, Mandisa Mashego, took to Twitter to discuss what was in her opinion a racist experience when she worked for international consultancy and audit firm KPMG.

Mashego alleges the auditing firm “told us” not to speak in African languages. KPMG is one of the country’s big four auditors, along with Deloitte, EY and PwC. The outspoken member of the EFF claims to have fought against KPMG on the alleged discrimination incident, and won.

Our many attempts all day to get hold of a spokesperson at KPMG were unsuccessful.

Mashego lists a number of major companies on her CV, as she worked at both Telkom and Vodacom in a managerial capacity before becoming the EFF’s caucus leader in the Gauteng legislature. She was a corporate affairs manager at Transnet a few years after her stint as a project manager of customer relationship management and internal communications at KPMG, which she says employed her between 2005 and 2006.

When The Citizen finally got hold of her for comment, Mashego, who says she fights racism and patriarchy, said she could not stay long at her KPMG job because she refused to “compromise her principles when it comes to the issue of racism”. She alleges one of her colleagues at KPMG complained that they could not understand African languages, and English, as a “business language”, should be the only language used.

“There was a complaint from one white person that we were not allowed to speak in isiZulu and Setswana. I told them I will speak in any language I want.”

Upon hearing this, the now EFF member called a meeting, to which she also “summoned” the firm’s CEO, who did not attend.

“In the meeting, I told them that if they are not comfortable with my language, it means they are also not comfortable with my skin. To say English is a business language is not correct.

“There was a lot of racism there. They undermined black people, more especially black women.

“There’s a constant attack on on black employees. You are constantly monitored as a black professional, more especially black women.

“They are not going to tell us what to do in our own country. They are the ones who should speak isiZulu. After that I resigned.”



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