2017 started just like 2016, with racist rants on social media


Once again, South Africans have started off a new year with a string of racist rants on social media.

In the latest incident a Limpopo man, Phillip Roodt, posted about crowded beaches in Amanzimtoti, south of Durban, calling black beachgoers cockroaches.

In the Facebook post he describes black beachgoers as cockroaches who stole money to go on holiday. He said he hoped they would drown one by one.

This comes almost a year after a similar post by estate agent, Penny Sparrow, where she called beachgoers monkeys.

With calls for hate speech law in South Africa mounting, we recount the most controversial racist posts from 2016:

January – Penny Sparrow

KwaZulu-Natal estate agent, Penny Sparrow, calls New Year’s Day black beachgoers “monkeys”.

“These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Year’s eve and New Year’s day on to public beaches towns etc obviously have no education what so ever so to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others,” she posted on Facebook.

“From now on I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same, pick and drop litter,” Sparrow added.

She later deleted her post and apologised, saying she did “not mean it personally”.

Sparrow was ordered by the Umzinto Equality Court to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation for her post for hate speech.

She was also fined R5 000 or 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of crimen injuria.

Sparrow however has not paid the money and instead applied for condonation and for leave to appeal. She has also written a letter of apology in terms of the court order.

January – Chris Hart

Days after Sparrow’s rant, economist and Standard Bank employee Chris Hart posted a tweet which many saying it had racist undertones.

The bank suspended Hart over the controversial tweet with Hart resigning in March.

February – Vicky Momberg

Estate agent Vicki Momberg faced charges of crimen injuria following a viral video where she used the K-word and called some of the city’s black police officers arrogant, useless and clueless.

The rant was a result of a smash-and-grab incident she was involved in that had occurred minutes prior to police arriving on the scene.

May – Ntokozo Qwabe

Ntokozo Qwabe, Master’s International law student at Oxford University in the UK and #RhodesMustFall activist, made headlines after making a waitress cry at a restaurant in Cape Town.

Qwabe and his friends said they would not give Ashleigh Schultz a tip and would only do so when white people gave land back to black people. More than R100 000 was subsequently raised in an online campaign for the waitress to cover the tip.

May – Matthew Theunissen

Capetonian Matthew Theunissen agreed to complete community service facilitated by the Human Rights Commission in June after a hate speech complaint.

The 26-year-old used the k-word in a rant on Facebook about Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s decision to disallow South African sports associations from hosting major international events.

May – Judge Mabel Jansen

Judge Mabel Jansen was placed on special leave by the Judicial Service Commission after suggesting that rape was part of black men’s culture and that black women were a source of pleasure for the black man. She made these comments in a Facebook conversation and activist Gillian Schutte publicised the exchange.

Jansen appeared before the Judicial Conduct Committee in October which made recommendations to the Judicial Services Commission.

June – Andre Slade

Sodwana Bay guest house owner Andre Slade told a prospective guest in an email that he couldn’t house them as they don’t accept blacks or government employees any longer.

He used the Bible as justification for his actions saying that you “can’t mix an apricot and a peach”.

The South African Human Rights Commission looked into the matter as well as KwaZulu-Natal’s Tourism MEC Sihle Zikalala, who wanted Slade prosecuted for crimen injuria, tax evasion and operating an illegal business.

Zikalala promised to suspend Slade’s licence and to evict him from the tribal land he was leasing.

November – Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson

Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa says he was accused of trespassing, and as a result was assaulted and shoved into a coffin by Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson. A 20-second video of the assault went viral.

The pair appeared in the Middelburg Magistrates’ Court on charges of kidnapping and assault with intent of grievous bodily harm. They later withdrew their applications for bail, saying they feared for their lives outside prison following nationwide outrage.

December – Ben Sasonof

Ben Sasonof from Johannesburg made seemingly racist and crude comments on Facebook about Durban beachgoers and president Jacob Zuma.

“Eh eh Wena… must have smelt like the inside of Zuma’s asshole,” he wrote. Sasonof also lashed out at one Facebook user who called him out on his post, calling him a monkey.

“Mohammed Jameel Abdulla you’re a f*ckin little idiot! Every person you tagged there is a friend of mine from school! I dated a black girl you f*ckin idiot f*ck! Stupid Monkey bastard you!”

The South African National Civic Organisation called on the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate.

December – Vanessa Hartley

Vanessa Hartley, a resident of Hout Bay, Western Cape, said too many Africans were flocking to Hout Bay and that soon there would be nothing left of it. “They [are] like stupid animals. We should tie them to a rope,” she wrote on Facebook.

The ANC in the Western Cape has called for the maximum penalty against her while she has continued to defend the statement.

December – Marius Koen

Saldanha Bay mayor Marius Koen blocked access roads to the Saldanha Bay beachfront and gave access cards to residents in the area.

Despite an outcry, Koen said the move was around parking and complaints from residents, and that the matter had been blown out of proportion.

He added that he wanted to maintain law and order as visitors sometimes arrived by the taxi-load, resulting in noise‚ vandalism and drunkenness.

The ANC has called for Koen to be fired and taken to the human rights commission.

December – Pieter Hattingh

Middelburg’s Pieter Hattingh resigned from Hattech Holdings as chief executive after a racist Facebook comment relating to a farm attack. Hattingh used the K-word. The company posted a statement on its Facebook page‚ said it distanced itself from the former chief executive’s views and did not share them.

“It was a stupid of me to say and I was wrong and I am very remorseful. I was an idiot,” he told News24. Hattingh’s Facebook account has since been deleted.

December – Bungalow restaurant

Bungalow restaurant in Clifton, Cape Town, received national attention after two black patrons complained about a receipt given to them where they were referred to as “two blacks”. Many believed this to be racial profiling.

The Bungalow’s marketing manager, Micheline Leo, said a waiter inputted identification notes to help identify tables.

December – Mark Scott-Crossley

Mark Scott-Crossley, who is believed to have fled Limpopo after an alleged racist attack, is still being hunted by police.

Silence Mabunda, a general worker, had opened a case against Scott-Crossley in December after he grabbed and smashed Mbunda’s cellphone, before allegedly driving over him in an apparent racist attack.

January 2017 – Liam Christian Ferreira

Liam Christian Ferreira kicked off 2017 with a New Year’s Day rant against Muslims on the Langebaan Facebook page.

After a backlash against his comments he issued a formal apology.

“I think it’s a crime that no one is sanding [sic] up to those Muslim bastards blaring their call to pray 5 times a day over massive speakers [sic],” he posted.

“Why do I need to put up with an Arabic tradition created in the dessert [sic] thousands of years ago.”

Ferreira ends his post by declaring: “Stand up for yourselves!!! Burn it down!!!”

The Muslim Judicial Council said Ferreira had apologised.

The council’s president, Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams, said Ferreira had described his “incitement of violence as a grave misjudgment” and “a metaphor poorly executed”.

Ferreira has removed the post, and Abrahams said he was ready to meet him to talk about it.

Ndileka Lujabe
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001
w:www.citypress.co.za  e: ndileka.lujabe@citypress.co.za

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