‘Big Black Braai’ man apologises

2013-02-15 08:37

Zama Khumalo has apologised for his racist Facebook post following the intervention of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

Khumalo had invited his friends to the “Big Black Braai” to celebrate the drowning in 1985 of 42 white children at the Westdene Dam.

The commission received 12 complaints about the 24-year-old’s post between February 6 and 13 and concluded that a violation of human rights had taken place.

During a mediation session yesterday, Khumalo said he had received numerous threats via email and Facebook and he feared for his safety on a daily basis.

In terms of the agreement, Khumalo would apologise to the families of those who had lost their lives in the crash on www.westdene1985.co.za.

Khumalo also has to participate in a suitable diversity training programme or educational workshop. He will have to make visits to the graveyard where many of the children are buried to clean the graves and place flowers at the tombstones.

Representatives of publisher Media24 were present at the meeting after the company had forwarded correspondence to Khumalo, through its attorneys, instructing him that his comments were racist, discriminatory and amounted to hate speech.

It was also stated that Khumalo’s association with the company was causing substantial reputational damage.

Khumalo had claimed to be an employee of Daily Sun, a Media24 publication.

Also part of the agreement was for Khumalo to post an apology on his Facebook page, which he did last night. Many of the comments he received were supportive of the agreement but a few comments were against the apology.

One of his Facebook friends said: “life is soo unfair yazi...i saw sum white’s comment on your apology..that person wrote dat he thanks God for Aids and minibuses that killes blacks...question is what is the Human Rights Commission doing about that racist.”

Khumalo’s response was for everyone to respect the mediation agreement.

He said: “I feel very happy that the matter has come to end and that both the friends and the families of the survivors and the deceased accepted my apology.

I will never promote or propagate hatred against any person of any skin (colour). I want to use my experience to advance the fight against discrimination of any form in this country.”

» City Press is a Media24 publication.

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