Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana on Wednesday apologised for her comments about Afrikaner men.
“It has become clear to me that my comments may have offended some members of our community. I would, accordingly, like to retract these remarks and apologise unconditionally to them,” she said.
Xingwana told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that young Afrikaner men were raised to believe they owned women and children.
“Young Afrikaner men are brought up in the Calvinist religion believing that they own a woman, they own a child, they own everything and therefore they can take that life because they own it,” she said during the interview aired on Monday.
“We also have cultural differences as well in our own communities where we have women who are forced into marriage and we are dealing with all those issues.”
Xingwana was being interviewed following the arrest of paralympian Oscar Pistorius after the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14.
“Through my comments, I sought to convey the message that, as a country we have emerged from a very violent past and that some tend to use cultural and religious beliefs to justify gender inequality and abuse,” she said.
Earlier, the Afrikanerbond said Xingwana had proven beyond doubt she was not fit to hold office in a constitutional democracy.
The Christian Democratic Party called for President Jacob Zuma to fire her.
“Many non-Afrikaners, black and white, are members of Calvinist churches and her latest statement could be considered as religious intolerance,” party spokesman Rev Theunis Botha said.