Chinese Xiaomei Havard becomes member of South Africa’s parliament
A Chinese woman, Xiaomei Havard has become the latest member of South Africa’s parliament, replacing Jackson Mthembu who succumbed to the COVID-19 complications on 21 January.
Xiaomei was sworn in on Wednesday last week.
Her membership of the parliament has stirred controversy in the social media, with some supporting and others against. Most commenters said a South African born person person should have succeeded Mthembu.
But the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has defended it saying the country is non-racial and non-sexist.
ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina said Xiaomei is a trained ICT professional, a computer scientist, a businesswoman and a philanthropist with a PhD.
Xiaomei Havard in ANC colours
She has lived in South Africa since 1994 and married her partner who is a South African citizen and qualifies for citizenship in accordance with the law.
“In May 2019, she stood for elections on an ANC ticket having gone through a national list process and emerged as candidate 130 on the ANC national list as verified by the Independent Electoral Commission.
Her party, the ANC included her name in the national list and her appointment meets Constitutional muster and is allowed,”said Majodina.
She said Xiaomei has been supporting the ANC for more than 15 years.
Majodina said the country condemns all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
“The speedy and comprehensive elimination of all forms of racism and discrimination is a historic mission that we cannot shy from,” she said.
Xiaomei Havard was born in the Chinese province of Henan.
She moved to Gauteng for her university studies.
She obtained a doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Johannesburg, and holds a master’s in electrical engineering.
She joined the ANC in 2004, and has served as president of the Africa Federation of Chinese Women in Commerce and Industry.
She is a naturalised citizen and has a South African husband.