Johannesburg — The ANC said on Tuesday it had laid a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate the DA as a “breeding ground” for racists. Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said that they had asked the commission to investigate racism within the DA, as well as whether the DA was fuelled by racists.
The SAHRC earlier pledged to investigate all racism-related complaints, regardless of the perpetrator’s race.
“We’ve already laid criminal charges against several individuals who have made racist remarks on a number of social media platforms” Kodwa said, adding that the complaints were laid at the Hillbrow police station.
Among those that the party had laid complaints against were:
- DA MP Mike Waters who allegedly posted a picture on Twitter showing a pack of dogs lining up at a tree, underneath which was a picture of President Jacob Zuma;
- DA member Penny Sparrow who took to Facebook describing black beachgoers as “monkeys”, in an apparent reaction to litter left behind after New Year’s celebrations;
- Nelson Mandela Bay DA councillor Chris Roberts, who allegedly referred to UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani as “councillor bobbejaan”.
They had also laid a complaint against economist Chris Hart who came under fire after he tweeted on Sunday that 25 years after apartheid ended, the victims were increasing, “along with a sense of entitlement and hatred toward minorities”.
“Most of these racists come from the DA . . . Waters, Diane Kohler-Barnard, you name them, they’re there,” said Kodwa.
Kohler-Barnard recently came under fire for sharing a Facebook post praising apartheid president PW Botha.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s spokesperson, Mabine Seabe, said the ANC was using a political gimmick.
“If one or two people come out as racist, it doesn’t mean that the party is racist. The DA condemns racism heavily. We’ve no space for racists in the DA,” he said.
Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission has pledged to investigate all racism-related complaints, regardless of the perpetrator’s race.
This after a number of people on Facebook and Twitter on Monday and Tuesday vowed to take action against “all white people”, after KwaZulu-Natal estate agent Sparrow compared black people to monkeys.
On a page dedicated to the downfall of Sparrow, a number of people, most of them black, have called for the killing of white people to do away with racism.
Some have called for the “necklacing” of racists.
Velaphi Khumalo, who on Facebook lists the Gauteng Arts and Culture Department as his employer, said he hated all white people. “I want to cleanse this country of all white people. We must act as Hitler did to the Jews. I don’t believe any more that there is a large number of not so racist white people . I’m starting to be sceptical even of those within our Movement the ANC. I will from today unfriend all white people I have as friends from today u must be put under the same blanket as any other racist white because secretly u all are a bunch of racist fuck heads. as we have already seen [sic],” he wrote.
He later said he was unapologetic about his post.
SAHRC head of advocacy and communications Dieketseng Diale said fighting racism with more racism was not the answer.
She said they would investigate all complaints lodged, as they were accountable to the country. “It’s very crucial for us to investigate these allegations and complaints. And we will keep doing so until we see South Africa as the country it should be. A united country where people respected one another. We will continue to advocate for the people of South Africa, regardless of race,” Diale said.
She called on South Africans to educate themselves on rights violations and the best way to fight them. “It starts with an individual like Penny Sparrow or Nelson Mandela to break or build a society.”
But they could not investigate, if people did not formally lodge complaints, she said. “Instead of going to social media to complain, they must be part of the process. Let’s not fuel the whole thing, but do it the right way. It’s our responsibility to investigate, and theirs to bring these issues to us.”
To lodge a complaint, visit the commission’s website, and fill in the form online and sign it. Or visit the Human Rights Commission’s provincial offices to do it in person, she said.
South African Jewish Board of Deputies National Director Wendy Kahn said the hate-filled language dominating social media currently had no place in a democratic South Africa. “These statements undermine the values of our Constitution and result in the destructive racial polarisation that we have seen over the past days.
“We all need to acknowledge that racism remains a serious problem in South Africa and needs to be addressed with the seriousness it deserves; and its ultimate solution lies in the total sum of the committed efforts of all South Africans,” she said. – Sapa