'Highly offensive' and 'in bad taste': Peter Marais told to apologise for ANC 'foreigners' remark

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Peter Marais
Peter Marais
PHOTO: Jan Gerber, News24
  • FF Plus member Peter Marais has refused to apologise for referring to ANC members as "foreigners".
  • Legislature speaker Daylin Mitchell gave a ruling on the comments, which were made on 9 March.
  • He found that Marais' remarks were "highly offensive, unparliamentary and in bad taste".

Freedom Front Plus MPL Peter Marais has refused to apologise for comments made during a sitting of the Western Cape legislature earlier this month, in which he referred to ANC members as "foreigners".

Speaker of the legislature, Daylin Mitchell, was unable to give a ruling immediately after the comments were made because the audio recordings and transcripts were not available.

During the previous sitting, Marais caused a stir when he said: "We call for the empowerment of coloured and Khoi emerging farmers in this province, entrepreneurs, and indigent households who are on housing waiting lists, as these minorities who are neglected and who received very little benefits in terms of the labour equity laws and housing, and having to compete against numerically and superior African blacks whose influx to the Western Cape has changed the demographics of the province."

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"Racial tensions are increasingly building up. We call on the Western Cape government to take remedial action to prevent racial tension from escalating and flaring up because of a fight for scarce resources by the influx," he added.

Chaos ensued after ANC members took issue with his remarks which, in turn, prompted Marais to call the ANC members "foreigners".

Mitchell ruled on Monday that the comments were "highly offensive, unparliamentary and in bad taste."

He said:

I have now had the opportunity to peruse through the transcribed extract of the proceedings of the 9th of March. I wish to rule as follows. In the prepared member's statement, honourable Marais articulated and contextualised from his perspective and that of the party he belongs to, I presume, what is happening in the province, as far as certain challenges facing minorities are concerned.

Mitchell added that he found no fault in the context. 

"However, when the honourable Marais, in an interjection, declared that 'you are foreigners' when responding to members representing the ANC, what could be argued to be under provocation, repeats this statement and becomes problematic and cannot be tolerated," he said. 

Mitchell added that Marais' comments had exceeded the boundaries of free speech. 

"I call on honourable Marais to withdraw the word foreigners and apologies to the house," he said. 

However, Marais refused to apologise.

He intends to challenge Mitchell's ruling. 

He remarked during the sitting:

Everything that has been flung at me you have not been privy to.

Mitchell requested for a second time that Marais withdraw his remarks.

"I am not withdrawing. I am stating a historical fact. I can prove this," he said. 

Mitchell then asked Marais to leave the chamber.

He complied, hurling insults at Mitchell along the way.

"You'll never be respected while you bend to them (the ANC)," he said as he walked.

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