Scandal and tragedy | South African LGBT politicians in the news


Ian Ollis

Two prominent and groundbreaking South African LGBT politicians made headlines this week, for very different reasons.

It was confirmed that Ian Ollis, believed to be the first MP to come out as gay in the media in South Africa, was involved in a deadly car accident.

On Wednesday morning, a vehicle transporting five people, including four MPs, collided with a minibus taxi in Paarl, in the Western Cape.

The ANC’s Timothy Khoza was killed in the horror accident, while Ollis (DA), Nomalungelo Gina (ANC) and Cynthia Majeke (UDM) were seriously injured and taken to hospital.

Ollis later tweeted: “Just to let everyone know that I am ok, receiving treatment at the clinic. My condolences to Hon. Khoza’s family. He died next to me.” Ollis was soon after discharged from hospital.

Ollis, who is now the DA’s Shadow Minister of Basic Education, first came out publicly on Mambaonline in 2009, when he was a DA city councillor in Johannesburg. He also went on to make history by attending the 2015 State of the Nation Address (SONA) while holding his partner’s hand.

Lynne Brown is Africa’s most senior LGBT politician

In less tragic, but also disturbing news, Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, and her partner, Ingrid Tufvesson, a higher education academic and transformation consultant, have become embroiled in the state capture saga.

It’s been reported that Tufvesson was a former business partner of Brown’s personal assistant Kim Davids, who in turn has been linked to the Gupta family.

Davids is alleged to have enjoyed influence in areas beyond her official role, including having sway over the appointment of Denel board members. She is further alleged to have asked for favours from the Gupta family, including an international trip (which she denies).

Lynne Brown

According to Amabhungane, Tufvesson is a director of a company, which appears to have two connections with people linked to the Gupta family.

Tufvesson has denied that she has ever personally met the Guptas nor had an any dealings with them and that she has “not been approached in any way, shape or form on their behalf”.

On Thursday, Brown asked Davids to resign as her personal assistant in the wake of the allegations. She explained: “My decision is not an expression of guilt on the part of Ms Davids. However, it is important that my office is above reproach.”

Questions have also been asked about Brown’s own role in the appointment of allegedly “captured” directors at state-owned companies.

Brown became the country’s first openly gay provincial leader  in 2008 as the Premier of the Western Cape. In 2014, she became the first openly lesbian cabinet minister in South Africa after President Jacob Zuma appointed her Public Enterprises Minister.

Constitutional expert Pierre De Vos wrote in 2014 that in the context of the deeply homophobic society in which we live, “it matters profoundly when an openly lesbian politician is appointed to an influential Cabinet position”.

Brown has generally been extremely private about her personal life and has refrained from speaking out about LGBT issues.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Latest Comments
  1. Pleb
    Reply -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend