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South Africa: ANC Chinese lawmaker accuse of spying for the Chinese government

Chinese immigrant, Xiaomei Havard who was appointed as a lawmaker in South Africa’s parliament has been accused of a “high likelihood” of being a spy, sharing classified government information with the Chinese communist party. The accusations started after a security report investigating the claims was made public. 

Commenting on the issue, Sibusiso Mnchwabe, ATM’s spokesperson said “It’s high time that as a country we debate whether we should not reserve some of the important rights to the natives of this country only; rights like holding public office. Someone who is in parliament is privy to very important information about the country. And someone who is not from this country and with dual citizenship will always have loyalty to his or her mother country.” 

The initial appointment of Harvard by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) sparked outrage among many South Africans with the hashtag #NoChineseInSAParliament trending on Twitter in South Africa.

The widespread movement objecting to her appointment saw the participation of top officials like Mr. Zungula, President and representative of the African Transformation Movement (ATM) in the South African Parliament who asked the following question on Twitter: “If a black person born in China can never be a member of the Chinese Parliament… Why does SA allow a Chinese-born person to be a member of the SA Parliament, and make laws for South Africans?”

Xiaomei Havard, a legally recognized member of parliament was sworn in on Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 to take the position of Cde Jackson Mthembu and represent the Gauteng province where she has lived for a couple of years now.

The ANC party announced the candidature of the Chinese together with some other four members in an official communique which stated that the appointment was necessitated by the “passing on” of some Members of Parliament.

“The African National Congress in Parliament welcomes the appointment of five new members to fill vacancies in the National Assembly. These vacancies arose from the passing on of ANC MPs [..] and Minister in the Presidency…” A letter from the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, Hon. Pemmy Majodina 

WHO IS XIAOMEI HAVARD?

The Candidature of Harvard has since faced numerous criticisms but who is she? Xiaomei Havard comes from Henan, the Central part of China; after moving into South Africa to pursue her education and staying for a while, she applied to become a citizen and this was granted. Havard acquired a doctorate degree in Computer Science from the University of Johannesburg.

She resides in Gauteng, a province she is currently representing as a member of parliament. Havard, who got married to a South African citizen, has been keenly engaged in the country’s political activities since landing in South Africa. She joined the African National Congress in 2004 and contested in the 2019 election on the ticket of the ANC which she failed to win before finally getting party approval.

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