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Ex-premier defends ANC councillor who was mocked over her English

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ANC coundillor Gomolemo Chere came under attack on social media for her proficiency in English when she was sworn in at Ga-Segonyana Municipality this week. Picture: Facebook

Former Northern Cape Premier and MP Dipuo Peters has come to the defence of ANC councillor Gomolemo Chere who was inaugurated at Ga-Segonyana Local Municipality in Kuruman this week.

FORMER Northern Cape Premier and Member of Parliament Dipuo Peters has come to the defence of ANC councillor Gomolemo Chere who was inaugurated at Ga-Segonyana Local Municipality in Kuruman this week.

A video clip of Chere being sworn in went viral on social media, where she came under attack for her poor command of the English language after she struggled to pronounce some words.

Peters pointed out that Chere was subjected to unfair treatment, as English was only one of the country’s 11 official languages.

“Chere, who comes from a proud family of traditional leaders in the Northern Cape, was mocked and disrespected on Tik Tok, where her competency and qualifications were undermined. Chere is proficient in Xhosa and works in deep rural areas and enjoys the support of communities in Batlharos. She is able to do her job without having to be fluent in English. Afrikaans is more commonly spoken in the district than English. She should be celebrated for filling a male-dominated work space,” said Peters.

“As a woman and former leader of the Province, I cannot stand back. No one laughs at a person who stumbles over their words if they try to speak an indigenous language that is not their first language.”

Peters believes that the magistrate should have allowed Chere to be sworn in in the language of her choice.

“Even I chose to be sworn in in Setswana as I wanted to show allegiance to my mother tongue and to my family.

“I listened to one of Chere’s voice notes where she explained that she was scared and shaking and felt embarrassed and depressed after what happened. They should have had a translator at the swearing-in ceremony. She should be offered counselling and the magistrate, who is also a woman, as well as the municipal manager and the person who videoed the incident and shared it on social media, should apologise to her.”

Neo George Masegela was elected as mayor and Keamogetse Madikiza was appointed as the new Speaker of Ga-Segonyana Municipality.

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