Official fired for 'kaffir' slur

2002-09-20 15:01

Wolmaransstad - The town treasurer of Maquassi Hills has been fired for referring to the local mayor as a "kaffir burgemeester", municipality manager Ross Motsemme said on Friday.

Maquassi Hills local municipality is based in Wolmaransstad in North West Province and serves approximately 100 000 citizens.

Motsemme said he fired Piet Marais on Thursday for using this disparaging remark against Mayor S S Nkatlo, after she was driven in a council vehicle in February.

He said Marais cornered an official driving the vehicle and after an exchange of words concluded by saying "driving nogal a kaffir burgemeester - a council vehicle is not a taxi".

"Since the inception of the new municipality there has been constant incidents of defiance from Marais who had difficulty in recognising the municipal manager and directors. Calling the mayor a kaffir was the last straw," Motsemme said.

He said Marais was fired after a disciplinary hearing which heard all sides of the story.

Marais said an appeal against dismissal was pending and he did not want to comment on the issue.

The mayor said she witnessed the exchange of words between the driver and Marais. "I could see that he was very angry," Nkatlo said, confirming that she did not hear the racist remark.

"I was reading my morning newspaper and could not hear what they were saying. A week later my personal assistant informed me and I felt very bad," she said.

The mayor is considering taking legal action against Marais.

Motsemme said the decision to fire Marais was not taken overnight and that some 20 incidents of alleged racist remarks had to be investigated before the disciplinary hearing could be held.