Jawitz distances itself from race row realtor

2016-01-04 09:26


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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal estate agent at the centre of a Twitter race row has gone to ground, as her former employer counts the cost of the damage to their brand.

Penny Sparrow took to Facebook and labelled black beachgoers as “monkeys”, which resulted in a national social media outcry.

Jawitz Properties CEO Herschel Jawitz told News24 that while Sparrow had left the company two months ago, her online profile still associated her with their brand.

“She is an ex-employee and unfortunately she hadn’t updated her Facebook page that still reflects her as employed by Jawitz Properties,” he said. 


“The most important fact is that these comments are outrageous in any context and to be made publicly is unacceptable.

“Unfortunately we have been associated with her and our brand is taking the heat and they [her comments] are not in any manner or form what we stand for or what we believe in. They would not be tolerated in our company and we are a proudly South African [company]. The public anger is justified,” Jawitz added.

“I had a brief conversation last night letting her know what I thought of her comments and what she had done to our brand. I have been inundated with calls and e-mails and they [the public] want to know what we are going to be doing about it. We are exploring our options. This is very serious from a brand point of view,” he said.

In her post Sparrow wrote: “These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Year’s eve and New Year’s day on to public beaches towns etc obviously have no education what so ever so to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others.

“I’m sorry to say that I was amongst the revellers and all I saw were black on black skins what a shame. I do know some wonderful and thoughtful black people. This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try. But think they can voice opinions and get their way of dear,” she continued.

“From now on I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same, pick and drop litter,” Sparrow added.

The estate agent later deleted her post and apologised, saying she did “not mean it personally”.

Attempts to contact Sparrow were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.

Political reaction

Her comments prompted a political reaction from the ANC Youth League in Gauteng, which expressed disgust.

“We remain disturbed that in 2016 we still have individuals who harbour such racist views, in a country that has gone through great hardship to get to where it is today,” it said in a statement.

“Her views spit on the generations of blacks, who despite great anger brought by historical injustices opted to take a path of forgiveness and not to retaliate.

“We caution all racists and advise you to quickly sober up. Our patience with you has worn out."

The ANCYL said Sparrow "must pay" for her backward utterances.

Read more on:    durban  |  racism

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