This week, the Free State MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation, Mathabo Leeto, allegedly called for the graves of white people to be dug open so that their bodies could somehow be made to account for their “sins”.
She also allegedly referred to all white people as rapists during a statement delivered in the Free State provincial legislature.
Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum said this week they had sent a letter about it to Free State premier Sisi Ntombela, asking for Leeto to be dismissed.
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Leeto is understood to have made the comments shortly after having charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering withdrawn against her and several of her comrades in the legislature.
They have been accused of crimes involving millions, related to an alleged R2 billion tender fraud that has “crippled” the Matjhabeng Local Municipality, according to News24.
A company named Gestetner allegedly paid money into the personal account of Leeto’s husband after being awarded a R20 million tender from the municipality.
The company has since been liquidated, which reportedly forced the state to drop its charges.
They were withdrawn on technical grounds, however, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has denied the state does not have a case. The charges could still be reinstated, although the DA has accused the NPA of once again failing to hold the ANC’s office bearers accountable.
In the wake of her legislature comments, Ernst Roets, the deputy CEO of AfriForum, said Leeto’s remarks called for disciplinary action.
“If the necessary disciplinary steps are not taken against Leeto, one can only conclude that her misconduct is endorsed by the provincial government,” he said.
When OFM News spoke to Leeto, she told them she was not a racist and denied making the comments.
“I said the issue of the abuse of women and children is not a new thing; it’s historic. In 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck came to South Africa, our great-grandfathers were made slaves and our great-grandmothers were raped. I am not a racist, I can’t make racist comments,” Leeto was quoted as saying.
The DA has requested recordings from the legislature, to review whether Leeto in fact made the remarks. The party’s Mariëtte Pittaway said this would not have been the first time Leeto made racially charged comments.
Leeto had earlier been accused of calling DA leader Roy Jankielson a “piece of faeces”. She claimed that because she was speaking in Sesotho, the interpreter had translated her comment inaccurately.
Pittaway confirmed to OFM: “During our Women’s Day debate in the sitting, she started off with saying that since Jan van Riebeeck arrived here the trouble started and all white men are rapists and they should be dug up from their graves so they can account for what they have done.”
The Afrikanerbond said in a statement that Leeto’s alleged statements could not be covered by parliamentary privilege, since privilege does not excuse racist remarks and the advocacy of hatred.
Their chief secretary, Jan Bosman, said: “The unwarranted generalised allegations by MEC Mathabo Leeto are extremely harmful in a society already deeply divided.”
He said they would lodge a complaint against her with the SA Human Rights Commission.
OFM has reported that the Free State legislature would make a ruling on Leeto at its next sitting.