The Free State ANC Youth League (ANCYL) provincial secretary, Reagan Booysen, has apologised unreservedly for shaming a fellow provincial executive committee member about living in an RDP house.
During an exchange with Sello Theepe in a WhatsApp group chat, Booysen mocked such houses by telling Theepe that his “RDP house” was the size of his bar, among other taunts. Booysen also posted a picture of his bar, just to buttress the point. He further said his house was five times bigger than Theepe’s house.
However, in the apology issued on Wednesday, Booysen said he did not mean to undermine RDP houses, which he described as a product of the democratic government and home to many South Africans.
“While I may have been aggrieved by his statements and remarks, I agree that nothing could have justified what I said and how I responded. The leaked discussion does not provide context and background and, while it was intended to be an internal ANCYL discussion, I wish to apologise unreservedly to comrade Sello Theepe for the comments I made about the house he has built for his family,” said Booysen.
He added: “I accept that my comments may have sounded like an insulted to the poor (sic), and for this I apologise.
“Throughout my years as an activist, I have always worked hard to change the lives of our people, especially the poor and downtrodden. After my father was brutally killed by the apartheid regime, I was raised by my single mother, in a four-roomed house. It can’t be that today I feel more special than all South Africans in the country.
“On December 25 2020, I and my wife hosted the second Annual Orphans Lunch, an activity which is very close to my heart. A day before that, I donated food parcels to numerous needy families, as part of my commitment to the poor. I sincerely hope that this apology will be accepted.”
This is after Booysen was reprimanded by the ANCYL spokesperson in the province, Sello Peterson who ordered him to apologise for his utterances.
“We don’t know the context but, as the Youth League, we strongly condemn that particular posture, regardless of the intention and the mood. [No matter how angry anybody could be] you cannot speak about such issues,” Peterson said. “We have called the comrades and they have apologised and explained that they were overcome by emotion. We have reprimanded them quite seriously and they have had to explain themselves.
“We view any statement, particularly from the leader of our movement, at any level, who seeks to undermine RDP houses as really insulting the poor and it’s not in line with the policies and the standing of the ANC.”