Oliphant accused of xenophobia

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant labelled an opposition MP a foreign national in Parliament.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant labelled an opposition MP a foreign national in Parliament. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has been forced to back down after labelling an opposition Member of Parliament (MP) a foreign national.

She made the comment during a debate on the Employment Services Bill in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Democratic Alliance MP Kenneth Mubu, who was born in Zambia but had South African citizenship, strongly objected while National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu battled to keep order.

"I don't like the minister's attitude. She's personally attacking me instead of what I said. I think she's expressing her xenophobic attitude and I don't appreciate it."

In 2008, 62 foreign nationals were killed during xenophobic attacks which started in Alexandra before spreading throughout the country.

Several foreign-owned shops have been looted throughout the country, but government blames criminals for this.