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FF+ wants SAHRC to probe official

2014-03-06 11:44

Johannesburg - The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) will ask the SA Human Rights Commission to probe allegedly racist comments made by Sandile Memela, a chief director in the department of arts and culture, the party said on Wednesday.

"The FF+ will take every step possible to see to it that action is taken against Memela," party leader Dr. Pieter Mulder said.

In an article on the Mail&Guardian's Thought Leader website Memela questioned if paralympian Oscar Pistorius would be on trial if he had shot and murdered a black man.

"There is no doubt, at least, in my mind that Oscar would have been forgiven for mercilessly killing a black man who would have broken into his house," Memela wrote. 

 "You see, when some whites buy and collect guns, it is to kill two things: animals and black people."

Mulder said the comments were racist and caused damage to nation building.

"One expects these comments from no-one in this country, least of all from a senior official in the public service," he said.

"We regard this as hate speech of the worst degree and form."

He called for Memela's suspension and an investigation by the department of arts and culture into the article.

Memela said Thought Leader was administered by professional editors and was highly regarded as one of the most prestigious web based platforms.

"There is enough reason to believe it appreciates, defends and promotes the responsibilities of freedom of the media and expression," he said.

"Those who agree or do not agree with the blog are free to agree or disagree without making ill-considered or unsubstantiated allegations."

Memela said the article was an individual opinion that contributed to national discourse and debate.

"It is complete in itself with no need for justification or defence," he said.

Department of arts and culture spokesman Mogomotsi Mogodiri said the department could not comment on Memela's article.

"Memela was writing in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the department," Mogodiri said.

He said Memela had been writing as part of public debates which enhanced freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

"We want people to engage Memela on his ideas so that we enrich public debate within the spirit of national building and national cohesion," Mogodiri said.

Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year. He claims he mistook her for a burglar.

His trial was being held in the High Court in Pretoria.

- SAPA
Read more on: pieter mulder  |  ff+  |  sahrc  |  election 2014

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