Facebook ranter's punishment should be lesson for other racists - Mbalula

2016-06-13 13:00
Fikile Mbalula. (File, Volksblad)

Fikile Mbalula. (File, Volksblad)

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Johannesburg - An SAHRC order that Capetonian Matthew Theunissen must carry out sport community service following his racist rants should serve as a lesson for others, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Monday.

"The restorative measures the commission has recommended should serve as a teaching moment to racist people who believe some sporting codes are an exclusive right of one race against the other," Mbalula said in a statement.

Last week, the SA Human Rights Commission announced that a settlement agreement had been reached with Theunissen – who had vented on Facebook about transformation in sport – whereby he will do community service for sports development in a disadvantaged part of Cape Town.

"Considerate to the SAHRC constitutional limits and principles of pursuing restorative, rather than punitive justice sanctions, Minister Mbalula accepts and trusts the recommendations will be implemented fully. 

"We will continue working with our fellow compatriots, black and white, to transform sport. Racism slows our transformation agenda and has no space in our society," said the minister.

On April 25, Mbalula announced that he had banned the country's cricket, rugby, netball and athletics bodies from bidding for, or hosting, major sporting events due to a lack of transformation. The decision would be reviewed next year.

‘Outrage and hurt’

Last month, Theunissen wrote on Facebook: "So no more sporting events for South Africa... I've never been more proud than to say our government are a bunch of KAFFIRS... yes I said it so go fuck yourselves you black fucking cunts".

The post went viral and the SAHRC subsequently conducted its own investigation.

Realising the "outrage and hurt" he had caused, Theunissen responded immediately to the commission, SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena previously told News24.

He gave them an additional statement and unconditional apology in response to the allegations.

His proposed community service would be three to six months long. He had also agreed to stay off social media for a year and undergo anger management therapy.

‘Ignorant and insulting’

On Monday, Mbalula said that Theunissen would also conduct "academic research on transformation in sport".

"The racist remarks made by Mr Theunissen were ignorant and insulting to black people, who continue to face many forms of racial exclusion. It was important then that a Chapter 9 institution like the SAHRC investigates this matter."

Meanwhile, last week, controversial KwaZulu-Natal realtor Penny Sparrow was ordered by the Umzinto Equality Court to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation for her racist comments.

Sparrow raised ire with a controversial Facebook post in which she likened black beach-goers to monkeys.

Read more on:    fikile mbalula  |  johannesburg  |  racism

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