Caster Semenya. (Pic: Michel Langeveld)

The ANC has refuted ANC Youth League head Julius Malema’s statement that hermaphrodites do not exist.

Last week, in a press conference, and apparently meaning to support controversial athlete Caster Semenya, Malema said: “Hermaphrodite, what is that? Somebody tell me, what is hermaphrodite in Pedi?”

He added, “There’s no such thing, hermaphrodite, in Pedi. So don’t impose your hermaphrodite concepts on us.”

ANC National Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu dismissed Malema’s statement on Monday while announcing that the ruling party had set up a “support team” for Semenya.

“If through science there are people who fall within the two gender categories, who are we to say anything against that; we cannot. In terms of the South African constitution they have every right to be supported as human beings,” said Mthembu.

In statement issued by the ANC, the party said the task team would consist of members of the ANC Youth League and the ANC Women’s League, including Winnie Madikizela Mandela and former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

The team would, it said, give concrete and practical support to Caster Semenya and her family and would work to ensure that she would be able to continue to compete.

Semenya came to international prominence after winning gold in the 800 metres at the Berlin Athletics World Championships in August. This was in the wake of news that the International Association of Athletics Federations would test her to asses if she was really a woman.

The team, led by ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, will meet with Caster’s family in Moletjie in Limpopo on Tuesday.

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