Johannesburg (Pic: Adamina)
The Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Geoffrey Makhubo, says that he and the City are committed to supporting the LGBTQI+ community.
According to the City’s official newsletter, Geoffrey declared that the administration of South Africa’s biggest city “would not tolerate discrimination against any resident based on their sexuality.”
The mayor, who delivered a keynote address as part of a recent virtual panel discussion on LGBTQI+ rights, said that the queer community is entitled to equal rights and should be treated with dignity and respect.
“As government, we need to reflect on whether we have done all that was expected of us to ensure that the values in the Constitution are realised and lived,” Mayor Makhubo was quoted as saying.
The virtual event was attended by a range of LGBTQI+ activists and other stakeholders. During the discussion, the City revealed that it is developing “an exclusive programme dedicated to advancing the rights of the LGBTQI+ community.”
MMC for Health and Social Development Eunice Mgcina, who announced the project, promised: “We will consult with the LGBTQI+ community as soon as the first draft has been completed in order to have their input as well.”
Activists, many frustrated by unmet promises from politicians, called on the City authorities to educate residents about LGBTQI+ realities and to provide vital services, such as creating a shelter catering for the needs of the community. (Cape Town remains the only city in the country to offer an LGBTQI+ shelter.)
Dlozi Mthethwa from Engage Men’s Health, who participated in the online event, welcomed the dialogue and expressed hope that it would yield some results.
“I hope that this will not be yet another discussion which, while well-intentioned, fails to make a real impact on the lives of LGBTQI+ people,” she said.