At a time when the LGBTI community is facing attacks from all corners of the country, the Spokesperson for the Department of Human Settlement, Castro Ntobeko Ngobese’s tweet “Aluta Continua’ has had the Queer community up in arms. While the meaning of the phrase means “The struggle continues”, it is now secondary because it has caused confusion on whether he was affirming the killings of the 4 gay men who have sadly been brutally murdered in South Africa in less than a month, or not!
A Twitter user @Them tweeted “Four gay men have been murdered in South African less than a month” to which Ngobese retweeted quoting “Aluta Continua”
It is unclear what his intentions were when he penned this tweet. The question is why would a spokesperson of a Public Department who is expected to be articulate and clear in communication be so irresponsible with his words? But what we know is that his response is problematic, inciting, and cannot go unchallenged.
Meanwhile, Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements Lebohang Maile who happens to be Ngobese’s boss has taken to Twitter describing the tweet as “unfortunate and inappropriate. In a thread of tweets, Maile continued to claim that “The Provincial Government is at the forefront of the struggle towards greater inclusivity and championing the socio-economic struggle of the LGBTQIA+ and can never associate itself with actions or sentiments which are homophobic and derogatory towards any member of society.” To this, activists and tweeps have said Maile’s statement is unacceptable and not a true reflection on the Governments’ response to the Queer targeted killings.
Efforts to contact the Gauteng Premier were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered. Exit also tried to reach out to Ngobese who has since made their Twitter account private, other means to communicate with him were not successful as he did not respond to our messages.