ANC CALLS FOR THOROUGH INVESTIGATION INTO TRAGIC SUICIDE, REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO EQUALITY
The African National Congress (ANC) expresses its deep concern and condemnation regarding the tragic incident at Khehlekile Primary School in Thokoza, where a 12-year-old pupil, Sibusiso Mbatha, took his own life after reportedly experiencing homophobic slurs and bullying from a teacher. Our thoughts are with the family of Sibusiso Mbatha during this challenging time.
In due course, the ANC will visit the family to express its condolences in person and in private.
Currently, it is immaterial whether the learner was gay or expressed his sexuality in any way. Like the rest of society, he deserved equal protection from the community, including the school.
The ANC categorically distances itself from any form of homophobia, whether deliberate or implied. Our commitment to the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) community is firmly embedded in a plethora of policy documents, including the 1996 Constitution of South Africa, which is the supreme law of the land. The protection of LGBTQIA+ rights in South Africa is founded on Section 9 of the Constitution, which expressly prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender, or sexual orientation. This constitutional safeguard applies to both government entities and private parties.
Furthermore, the ANC has taken proactive steps by establishing an LGBTQIA+ Desk at its Headquarters (Luthuli House), with the explicit aim of actively protecting and advancing the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, and ensuring a life free from discrimination.
Concurrently, we are in the process of planning and actively preparing for our involvement in Johannesburg Pride, also known as Joburg Pride or Jozi Pride. This annual LGBTQIA+ pride celebration to be held in Johannesburg, Sandton is a cornerstone event on the African continent, drawing thousands of attendees each year who come together in solidarity to champion LGBTQIA+ rights and enhance
visibility in our society. In addition to our call for all ANC members in Gauteng and beyond to participate, it is worth noting that the Secretary-General of the ANC, Fikile Mbalula has urged leaders of the ANC to fully support the Pride Festival.
The ANC calls for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic suicide of Sibusiso Mbatha. We urge the Gauteng Education Department to leave no stone unturned in establishing the facts and holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Our society must stand united against all forms of discrimination, particularly in our educational institutions, which should be safe and nurturing spaces for our youth.
The ANC reiterates its commitment to creating an inclusive and just society where every citizen’s dignity and rights are respected, regardless of sexual orientation. We call on all South Africans to join us in this mission and to condemn discrimination in all its forms.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
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