Mthethwa urges Gau­train bosses to apol­o­gise

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS -

Arts and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa yes­ter­day urged Gau­train Man­age­ment Agency (GMA) to apol­o­gise to Thando Mahlangu for the hu­mil­i­a­tion he suf­fered when guards stopped him from board­ing the train be­cause he was dressed in tra­di­tional Nde­bele garb.

The 34-year-old Nde­bele cul­tural ac­tivist and author said he was re­cently barred from board­ing the Gau­train be­cause his tra­di­tional out­fit was deemed in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

He com­plained that the un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence did not only cost him a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity, but also left him feel­ing hu­mil­i­ated.

Mthethwa said: “I have it on good au­thor­ity that Mahlangu is yet to re­ceive an apol­ogy and it is my ex­pec­ta­tion that GMA per­son­ally apol­o­gises to him, and to mean­ing­fully dis­play that what hap­pened to him should have never oc­curred”.

Ini­tially, Gau­train man­age­ment blamed overzeal­ous guards at the Park Sta­tion for the anom­aly. But it has since emerged that the guards re­ferred the mat­ter to of­fi­cials from the train ser­vice who agreed with them that Mahlangu was “in­ap­pro­pri­ately dressed” and could not be al­lowed to board.

The min­is­ter said Gau­train man­age­ment must also make a state­ment that they stand fully in sup­port of the free­dom of pas­sen­gers and “will en­deav­our hence­forth to ac­tively pro­mote the constitution in its sup­port and pro­tec­tion of her­itage and cul­ture of its peo­ples.”

Mthethwa added: “What Mahlangu ex­pe­ri­enced at Gau­train sta­tion in Jo­han­nes­burg is shame­ful and de­plorable and there can be no ex­cuse what­so­ever for it to have oc­cured.”

Mthethwa said he would con­sult Trans­port Min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande to en­sure the GMA was held “ac­count­able” and did not get away with im­pair­ing Mahlangu’s dig­nity and vi­o­lat­ing his rights. – ANA

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