Hajaig issues public apology for comments made at Lenasia rally
By Cindy Witten
and Mishkah Anthony
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Fatima Hajaig issued a public apology in response to a statement made at a Lenasia rally in solidarity with Palestine last month.
The alleged comment sparked outrage with human rights activists who say that the statement made, portrays the Jewish community in an unfavourable manner.
Hajaig, who recently returned from Japan, learned about the controversy surrounding her comments made and issued this statement: “Throughout my life, I have been opposed to apartheid and all forms of racism. It is this opposition that drove me into exile and to work for the African National Congress (ANC) for decades.
“I have long been cognisant of the immense suffering that the Palestinians have experienced in the forms of expulsion, collective punishment and massacres, of which the recent wars in Gaza is but the latest example. It is through this suffering that I spoke at the meeting.”
Hagaig says that as a member of the South African government and a committed member of the ANC, she subscribes to the values and principles of non-racism and condemns all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.
“To the extent that my statement may have caused hurt and pain, I offer an unequivocal apology for the pain it may have caused to the people of our country, and the Jewish community in particular,” she said.