Pressure is mounting on the Mpumalanga’s City of Mbombela to review and cancel a lease agreement it has with a golf club following an allegation of racism.
Black golfers and political organisations such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and ANC Youth League will march to the Nelspruit Golf Club tomorrow.
The march follows Mpumalanga-born mogul Robert Gumede’s decision to withdraw his R1.2 million sponsorship to the club’s Jock of the Bushveld Tournament after the way the management dealt with the assault of 19-year-old golfer, Jabulani Mabilane, by four white club members last October.
The week-long tournament ends on Sunday.
Mabilane, a professional golfer, was practising when four white club members – Lodgewyk de Clercq, Stephanus Noppe, Jasper Vorster and Rocky Smith – allegedly assaulted him after telling him that he was not welcome at the golf course.
The club did not charge the men but commissioned an inquiry that recommended the suspension of all five golfers for 18 months.
EFF Mpumalanga leader, Collen Sedibe, said the party was “disgusted”.
“The EFF is disgusted and condemn the demon of racism which continues to happen 23 years under democratic order and we can not tolerate and allow it to continue happening under our watch,” Sedibe said.
Sanco national spokesperson, Jabu Mahlangu, said: “The City of Mbombela must terminate its lease agreement with the club if it does not uphold non-racialism in accordance with the values enshrined in the Constitution”.
City of Mbombela spokesperson, Joseph Ngala, promised to respond yesterday but did not.
Other than the termination of the lease agreement, the marchers would demand:
• The expulsion of the four golfers who allegedly assaulted Mabilane;
• That the Mbombela council investigate racism at the club, which has only seven black golfers out of about 400;
• That the golf club’s management committee be dissolved and the club turned into a public entity;
• That police charge the four golfers and the National Prosecuting Authority prosecute them; and
• That the club set aside its inquiry decision that protected the quartet.
Mabilane said that police had only contacted him once since he laid assault charges, but Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the docket was with the National Prosecuting Authority, who had to make a decision.
After the incident Mabilane relocated to Johannesburg to make a go of his golfing career. He was expected to be part of the march together with 15 black professional golfers.