Pretoria – New Economic Development and Spatial Planning MMC Bruce Lee caused a stir on social media for sharing the same name with the legendary martial artist and actor.
Moments after he was named in the Tshwane executive by mayor Randall Williams, offensive comments labelling him an Asian foreigner started appearing on social media.
Despite this, Lee has expressed his determination to execute the mandate of service delivery.
Williams said he welcomed the social media attention on the MMC, but took umbrage at the discriminatory comments.
Those who reacted to Lee’s appointment questioned his citizenship as a South African because of his Asian name.
While others called for a probe into his nationality, some made fun of his appointment, remarking that martial arts would soon be introduced in the City.
But Williams was not amused by the comments, saying they characterised xenophobia and racism against Lee. He said he was “deeply disturbed by some of the openly xenophobic and racist comments that have been directed against him”.
“Councillor Lee, while sharing the name with the famous Chinese martial artist, is in fact not Chinese but is South African of Taiwanese descent,” he said.
He was born in Taiwan, but he relocated with his family to South Africa in 1989 when he was 9 years old.
According to Williams, Lee was first elected to council in 2011 and served on the Section 79 oversight committee for his current department.
He holds an MBA, a political science degree from universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Lee has managed and run several businesses in the manufacturing and export sector in southern Africa.
Williams said: “He has also been actively involved in building and growing businesses here in South Africa, employing people of all creeds and races. This has allowed him to drive philanthropic initiatives and charity drives as well.”
Last month, the ACDP gave government an ultimatum to open the R124-million Hammanskraal-based Mandisa Shiceka Clinic, which was completed a year ago, by December 1.
It was said the facility remained unused because the City failed to install electricity and water supply to it.
Williams said: “I requested a report on resolving the issues at the clinic for the mayoral committee urgently to … ensure that this clinic is opened to service the community.”
Despite the clinic not being built by the City but by provincial government, it was important to maintain intergovernmental relations, he added.
“I have no doubt that Councillor Lee will chop through the red tape delaying the opening of this clinic so that we are able to hand it over to the community,” Williams said.