#CasterSemenya’s humiliation must end now – Makhura

"Caster Semenya’s only crime is that she is an African woman who refuses to give up. Her humiliation must end now."

These were the words of Gauteng Premier David Makhura during the State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Monday ahead of the Limpopo-born athlete’s fight against the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) female eligibility regulations.

The federation has argued that Semenya be classified as a biological male and a hearing into the matter started at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.

Speaking on the matter, Makhura said Semenya’s life was an embodiment of triumph of resilience and excellence over adversity and humiliation. He said South Africans must show her support.

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Caster Semenya, current 800-meter Olympic gold medalist and world champion, and her lawyer Gregory Nott, right, arrive for the first day of a hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP

"She has been humiliated too many times. Her humiliation must end now. Let her greatness reign," he said.

Makhura also touched on the ever controversial e-tolls which has over the years divided the ruling party.

Makhura said e-tolls were  problematic. Research, he said, had shown that they were not sustainable and also increased residents’ cost of living.

“While the user-pay principle is not in question, there is clear recognition that urban tolling increases the cost of living and is therefore unsustainable. 

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An e-toll gantry on the N1 highway. File photo: Thobile Mathonsi / INLSA

"Proceeding from this consensus, government teams are hard at work to find a solution to the e- tolls,” Makhura said

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has just reassured me again that the resolution of e-tolls is one of the issues that are receiving his urgent national attention,” he added.

Speaking on the Life Esidimeni issue, Makhura said the tragedy represented the opposite of what Gauteng provincial government was about, and blamed it on heartlessness and big-headedness.

“When heartlessness and big-headedness creep into public decision-making, saving lives and serving the people takes a back seat. This must never happen again in our government,” he said.

Makhura confirmed that the provincial government took responsibility and put in corrective measures and implemented the recommendations by the Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.

“We appointed retired deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who, after a painstaking and painful process of presiding over the arbitration, ordered government to pay financial compensation to the affected mental healthcare users,” said Makhura.

"We moved swiftly to pay all the claimants by June 2018 in line with the award of Justice Moseneke," he said.

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