Marius Fransman has not yet apologised for 2013 remarks - SA Jewish Board

Former ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman has not yet apologised to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) for "offensive and inflammatory" public statements he made in 2013, the board said on Thursday.

Two weeks ago, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) directed Fransman to apologise to the SAJBD via a written acknowledgment.

He was given a month to apologise.

SAJBD spokesperson Charisse Zeifert told News24 that Fransman had not done so yet.

Zeifert said Fransman had - in 2013, while he was still deputy international relations minister - made a series of offensive statements about the South African Jewish community.

She said the statements included alleging that Jewish businessmen were unfairly benefitting at the expense of the black population in general, and the Cape Town Muslim community in particular.

He also accused the elected Jewish leadership of being disloyal to SA and of trying to undermine economic transformation, according to Zeifert.

'Insensitive, disrespectful'

"In view of the fact that Fransman was a public figure holding high political office, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies decided to lay a complaint of hate speech against him with the SA Human Rights Commission," she said.

The SAHRC found Fransman's comments did not go so far as to constitute hate speech.

However, they were hurtful to and impugned the dignity of members of the Jewish community, according to Zeifert.

"Accordingly, the SAHRC has directed Fransman to apologise. The Commission further described Fransman's comments as 'insensitive, disrespectful and not designed to bring about the unity that he professed to be important to advance'."

Zeifert said the SAJBD was encouraged by the SAHRC's recommendation that Fransman has "a responsibility to conduct himself in a manner which is consistent with Constitutional values".

Fransman told News24 on Friday that he has not yet responded to the SAHRC's recommendation.

He will respond within the next two weeks, before the deadline.

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