Joburg mayor Mashaba reinstates Phalatse after pro-Israel remarks

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JOHANNESBURG, June 28 – Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has reinstated member of the mayoral committee for health Mpho Phalatse who was suspended earlier this month for public comments in support of Israel made on behalf of the City of Johannesburg.

In a statement early on Thursday morning, Mashaba said Phalatse has been reinstated with conditions following an investigation. The reinstatement is effective June 28.

“The multi-party government has concluded its assessment and engagements surrounding the remarks made by MMC Mpho Phalatse on 10 June 2018,” the statement said.

Phalatse, who has already made a public apology, is set to be publicly reprimanded for her remarks in name of the City of Johannesburg.

“As the Executive Mayor for the City of Johannesburg, I have spoken to MMC Phalatse and I am appreciative that she is remorseful for the impact of her remarks,” Mashaba said.

Phalatse had reportedly said: “I would like to declare that I am a friend of Israel, and the city of Johannesburg is a friend of Israel! Shalom Shalom!”

Mashaba said that while he affirmed Phalatse’s right to hold and express any personal belief she may hold, “I equally expressed my disappointment that she spoke on behalf of the City of Johannesburg and in a manner which failed to grasp the sensitivity and complexity of the issue as it exists within our City and throughout the world”.

He said the investigation into the matter concluded that:

— The statement of Phalatse did not contravene DA policy position on its commitment to a two-state solution in which a secure and prosperous Israel coexists peacefully alongside a secure and prosperous Palestine.

— Phalatse failed to ensure that sound judgement, to be expected of public representatives in the multi-party government, informed the manner in which she approached her official duties when she made the statement in question.

— She must be reprimanded for her remarks on behalf of the City of Johannesburg.

“Arising from the conclusion of this process, it is my decision that MMC Phalatse should be reinstated as a Member of the Mayoral Committee effective 28 June 2018 and that she should be publically reprimanded for her remarks in name of the City of Johannesburg.”

Mashaba added that her reinstatement was conditional on her making a public apology which she had already done on June 26, while she will also be required to attend a workshop, from an appropriate body, to better understand the complexity of issues in the Middle East.

“I would like to assure the residents of the City of Johannesburg, as well as members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in South Africa that we remain committed to the idea of a peaceful two-state solution in the Middle East,” Mashaba concluded.

– African News Agency (ANA)