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Parly committee wants action against DBE spokesperson over 'sexist' tweets

Last week, Elijah Mhlanga tweeted sultry pictures of half-dressed men and women holding books while encouraging a culture of reading.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga. Picture: @ElijahMhlanga/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Parliament's portfolio committee on Basic Education on Tuesday condemned tweets and images published by the department's spokesperson, which he said sought to promote leisurely reading.

Last week, Elijah Mhlanga tweeted sultry pictures of half-dressed men and women holding books while encouraging a culture of reading.

But he's being blasted for appearing to sexualise the message.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has distanced herself from the tweets.

The backlash from Mhlanga’s tweets continued as Parliament’s Basic Education portfolio committee added its voice in condemning him.

Committee chairperson Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba urged the department to take drastic action again Mhlanga for what she called a "thoughtless, sexist, and chauvinist" approach to a worthy and noble campaign.

Mbinqo-Gigaba said the tweets objectify women in a campaign that is meant to encourage learners to read in order to lead.

She said the images of near-naked women must be condemned.

Mbinqo Gigaba said the committee would, as part of its oversight responsibilities, take up the matter with the department when it met again during its next scheduled meeting.

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