Claims of hacking in Hout Bay social media race row

2016-12-05 16:40
Hout Bay. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Hout Bay. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - A Capetonian woman who apparently called black people "stupid animals" on Facebook claims she was the victim of a hacker.

The comments caused an uproar on social media on Monday.

The controversial post under Vanessa Hartley's name on Facebook, made on the Hout Bay Complete Facebook page read: "They are like stupid animals. We should tie them to a rope. Too many Africans flocking to Hout Bay. Draw up a petition. Soon there will be nothing left of Hout Bay."

Later on Monday Hartley's partner Ryno de Villiers, who runs The Eye of the Horus Security and IT where she works, told News24 they were inundated with calls.

"We are overwhelmed with inquiries. This is now something bigger than just a story," he said.

Hartley's Facebook profile was deactivated around noon on Monday.

'Stupid drunk' the culprit

Hartley earlier apologised for her comments on the Hout Bay Complete Facebook group, saying that her phone had been taken at a bar. 

"I would like to apologise for the comments that was made on FB [Facebook] via my phone as my phone was at the bar and someone thought they were very funny but now upset me and a lot of people," she posted. 

De Villiers reportedly also took to social media, saying a "stupid drunk" had taken Hartley's phone at a bar.

Steve Blecher, administrator and creator of the Hout Bay Complete Facebook page, said he also received a phone call about the hacking claims. 

"A person saying they were Vanessa's employer said that her account was hacked which resulted in the comments being posted," Belcher said. 

He said that the initial comments under Hartley's name were posted in response to a photo on the Facebook group of a well-known community fisherman feeding seals.

Complaint laid at SAHRC

"The comment was deleted before I'd seen it," said Belcher.

"But after I saw a screenshot of what Vanessa posted I deleted her apology on the group immediately."

"I am shocked that anybody still feels this way and still thinks this way."

Belcher emphasised his regret about the damage the incident has done to a Facebook group of 4 000 that was created to bridge the divide between the various Hout Bay communities. 

"This can have a long-lasting effect on the work we do - much longer than a 24-hour news cycle," he said.

ANC Western Cape spokesperson Yonele Diko confirmed that a complaint had been laid against Hartley at the SA Human Rights Commission.

Read more on:    facebook  |  hrc  |  cape town  |  social media

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