Racist gym member banned from Virgin Active
Johannesburg – Virgin Active has banned a member after a racist incident at its Sunninghill gym, Eyewitness News reported on Monday.
Lesley Mofokeng laid a criminal charge after he was insulted at the gym in Johannesburg.
A fellow gym member called Lesley Mofokeng a "boy" and accused him of "hogging the equipment".
Mofokeng said: "The guy came and started shouting and said, 'You black guys take everything. We know this is your fucking country, but you do not have to control everything."
Virgin Active notified Mofokeng that the man who hurled abuse at him had his membership cancelled and would be banned from all clubs.
Mofokeng said justice was served.
"I am relieved that the message has been sent to people who come to gym with the intention of hurting others."
This incident became public after the Star newspaper reported that a patron of Virgin Active Morningside, in Sandton, was racially insulted by another patron during a spinning class on December 31.
Liz Hleza said the man appeared enraged because she shouted "yebo" in her enthusiasm for the music and the exercise.
"I was so scared and thought he was going to hit me, he was very angry. He said I should keep quiet and kept saying this bloody kaffir, you kaffir," Hleza said.
She said at the time she was dissatisfied with the gym's handling of the matter.
Founder and chief executive of the Virgin group Richard Branson commented on the issue on Virgin Active SA's Facebook page, News24 reported.
"We do not condone any form of discrimination at Virgin - especially racism," he said.
He said Virgin was taking the complaints "extremely seriously".
"[We] intend to look at all the facts to reach the right outcome for all parties concerned," Branson wrote.
- Attempts to contact Virgin Active by News24 were unsuccessful.