DA Cederberg speaker in hot water over social media post comparing EFF members to monkeys

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Cederberg speaker John Hayes.
Cederberg speaker John Hayes.
Facebook/ John Hayes
  • A complaint has been lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission against Cederberg speaker John Hayes. 
  • Hayes shared a picture of a troop of monkeys on top of a car, on social media under the words, "Be careful. The EFF strike started".
  • The EFF's Nazier Paulsen said the party would ensure every avenue was exhausted to remove Hayes from his position.

The DA speaker of the Cederberg Municipality, John Hayes, is in hot water for a social media post depicting a picture of a troop of monkeys, sitting on top of a car, seemingly trying to steal a hubcap, with the words, "Be careful. The EFF strike started".

A complaint has been lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against Hayes by the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation's Billy Classen.

"This is racial propaganda where it is directly referred to human beings as monkeys," Classen said.

"This post referred to EFF members as baboons. This is racist to refer to human beings as baboons, and councillor John Hayes should have known better in this regard.

"He is the first citizen of a tourism hub town and a medical doctor and therefore need to be careful about what he shares on social media," he added.

Hayes shared the post on his Facebook profile following the EFF's national shutdown on Monday.

The post has since been deleted. 

The SAHRC's Western Cape acting provincial manager, Matthew du Plessis, confirmed the complaint was lodged.

"We are aware of the matter and are investigating," he said.

Asked for comment, Hayes told News24 the post was more like a "funny video" with a little monkey taking off a hubcap from a car.

He said:

Please show me where race came into this picture. I never saw this or thought about race; had I, then I would never have reposted this.

"I spend my whole life on community upliftment. Now I know what other people see in it. I am shocked that, that is what some people think I meant.

"I never saw anything like hate speech in that post," he said.

The EFF, however, took a different view.

EFF MP Nazier Paulsen said the party would ensure every avenue was exhausted to remove Hayes from his position.

"He views us as monkeys. Does he also view black members of the DA as monkeys? We will ensure that every avenue is exhausted to remove him from a position which is supposed to treat all parties equally and fairly."

"We cannot expect fairness from John Hayes or any member of the DA. This is the prevailing attitude towards black people in the DA," he added. 

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