SAHRC still dealing with Sparrow, Hart, Khumalo racism complaints

2016-06-17 16:06
Penny Sparrow (Felix Dlangamandla)

Penny Sparrow (Felix Dlangamandla)

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Cape Town - The racism complaints against Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart and Velaphi Khumalo with the SA Human Rights Commission have yet to be finalised, six months after they were made.

And, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is still looking into the complaint against Gauteng Judge Mabel Jansen.

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the delays regarding complaints against sports promoter Khumalo, economist Hart, and realtor Sparrow were because the commission was waiting for other processes to be completed.

In January, Khumalo, an employee at the Gauteng government's arts and culture department, wrote on Facebook that he wanted to cleanse South Africa of white people, "as Hitler did to the Jews".

The Gauteng government condemned the post and charged him with serious misconduct.

On May 4, the department said he pleaded guilty at his disciplinary hearing and committed himself to corrective measures. He was given a final written warning and his suspension was lifted, leaving him free to carry on with his job.

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies and a Cape Town man, Daniel Amos, were among those who complained to the SAHRC about Khumalo’s statement.

Amos wanted to know why Khumalo's complaint was taking so long at the SAHRC. He was unable to get answers from the commission on the case's progress.

He compared the Khumalo case with that of Matthew Theunissen, who posted a racist rant on Facebook on May 2.

Theunissen was reacting to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s announcement that four national sporting codes would be suspended from bidding for, or hosting, international tournaments because they had not met transformation targets.

On June 10, just over a month later, the SAHRC announced that the Theunissen investigation had been completed. He had to do three to six months' community service in sports development in a poor community, and research on racism, diversity, transformation and tolerance, as well as on the effect of his post.

Mangena said the difference between the Theunissen case and the other three was that the commission had initiated its own investigation. When Theunissen heard the commission was looking for him, he had made contact quickly.

Before meeting the commission, Theunissen apologised. When the commission asked for a response to the allegations against him, he apologised unconditionally in another statement.

Sparrow fined R150 000

It was still working on the case against Hart, a former Standard Bank economist, and Sparrow.

Hart tweeted on January 3: "More than 25 years after apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities."

He resigned from the bank, the financial institution confirmed on March 14.

On January 2, Sparrow likened black people to monkeys in a Facebook rant about overcrowded and litter-strewn Durban beaches.

The Equality Court sitting in Umzinto has ordered her to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation. Magistrate Irfaan Khalil interdicted her from any further hate speech.

Sparrow came out of hiding for an interview with News24 on Monday. She said she had not meant to offend anybody, and that she was not racist.

Meanwhile, the complaint with the JSC against Jansen was still being investigated, commission spokesperson Dumisa Ntsebeza said.

Activist and writer Gillian Schutte posted excerpts of written exchanges she had with Jansen in May. Jansen’s comments included: "In their culture a woman is there to pleasure them."

Jansen said she was speaking specifically about rape cases she had dealt with.

She was put on special leave. Her husband died in a crash in England on the weekend that the old posts were recirculated.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  penny sparrow  |  chris hart  |  social media  |  racism

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