Xiaomei Havard was sworn into the SA Parliament on Wednesday, to replace the late Jackson Mthembu. Photo: Twitter

The ANC Parliamentary Caucus has issued a statement in defence of its deployment of Xiaomei Havard to replace the late Jackson Mthembu in Parliament, after outrage that Havard was not born and raised in SA.

The ANC said it noted with “grave concern” the social media storm generated by Xiaomei Havard’s deployment.  Following the death of five ANC members in the National Assembly, Havard  was sworn in, with four other members, as a new member of the National Assembly on the 27th January 2021.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the ANC reminded citizens that when the Freedom Charter was adopted in Kliptown in June 1955, it was based on the will of the people that SA belongs to all who live in it.

In one of its clauses, the Freedom Charter declared that:

“All National Groups shall have equal rights and that they shall be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride and that the preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination and contempt shall be punishable by law and that all apartheid laws and practices shall be set aside.”

The statement says that the document’s founding provisions include human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism; and that it was this commitment “that saw Comrade Xiaomei Harvard elected to our National Assembly as a member of our Parliamentary Caucus”.

On Xiaomei Havard

According to the ANC statement, Havard has lived in South Africa since 1994 and subsequently married her partner who is a South African citizen, thus qualifying for citizenship as per SA’s domestic laws. Later she joined the ANC which she has always supported from childhood through the Chinese political structures, and has been active in her ANC branch in Johannesburg for more than 15 years.

In May 2019, Havard 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. The ANC included her name in the national list and her appointment meets Constitutional muster and is allowed.

The ANC pointed out that there have been other MPs who were not born in SA, including former Minister of Housing, the late Joe Slovo (born in Lithuania). It also mentioned how its own leadership has included Zimbabwean-born Albert Luthuli and Thomas Nkobi.

Xiaomei Havard’s Academic and Professional Qualifications

Havard is a trained ICT professional; a computer scientist, business woman and a philanthropist with a PhD, says the ANC.