DA dragged to court over new slur

CityPress - - News - S’THEM­BILE CELE sthem­bile.cele@city­press.co.za

The DA has been dragged to the Equal­ity Court on a fresh case af­ter its East­ern Cape coun­cil­lor, who called a black coun­cil­lor a “ba­boon”, was given a pun­ish­ment con­sid­ered a slap on the wrist.

The DA’s fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive ruled that its coun­cil­lor Chris Roberts would have to pay a R10 000 fine and be de­moted as party whip – but would re­main in his po­si­tion as coun­cil­lor.

United Demo­cratic Move­ment coun­cil­lor Mongameli Bobani told City Press his party had laid charges of hate speech against the DA at the Equal­ity Court af­ter he was called a ba­boon by Chris Roberts last year.

This con­tro­versy adds to a tu­mul­tuous two weeks in which the party has had to fend off sev­eral crit­i­cal me­dia re­ports.

The party held a mass march in Jo­han­nes­burg on Tues­day against the lack of jobs in the coun­try, but it was eclipsed by claims by the rul­ing party that the DA paid marchers R100 each to at­tend. The march is es­ti­mated to have been about 20 000 strong.

On Fri­day the Mail & Guardian re­ported that DA head Mmusi Maimane had been tak­ing “lead­er­ship classes” from for­mer pres­i­dent FW de Klerk. The DA de­nied this, say­ing the claim was dam­ag­ing.

Bobani said: “As an older black man, be­ing called a ba­boon brought back the pain of apartheid, and it was hu­mil­i­at­ing and painful for me.

“Nei­ther Roberts nor the DA have had the de­cency to is­sue any kind of per­sonal apol­ogy to me in writ­ing or oth­er­wise, even af­ter the party found him guilty.”

The DA’s fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive ruled that Roberts would have to pay a R10 000 fine and be de­moted as party whip, but would re­main in his po­si­tion as coun­cil­lor. Do you think the

DA is se­ri­ous about stamp­ing

out racism? SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word DA and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name. SMSes cost R1.50 Bobani feels the sanc­tions in­di­cate that the DA is not se­ri­ous about stamp­ing out racism.

The pun­ish­ment comes just weeks af­ter party leader Maimane vowed to take a bolder stance against in­ci­dents of racism in the party, which has con­tin­ued to bat­tle al­le­ga­tions and cases of racism. “No DA mem­ber must ever turn a blind eye to racism, no mat­ter how sub­tle or coded. We need to call peo­ple out on their be­hav­iour, even when con­fronting them makes us feel un­com­fort­able.

“We have a duty to stand up and speak out for our val­ues.

“I will not tol­er­ate racism in the party I lead,” Maimane said just two weeks ago in an ad­dress on the topic of race.

When asked if the sanc­tions meted out against Roberts were ad­e­quate, Maimane re­ferred City Press to East­ern Cape leader Athol Trol­lip.

“But you must un­der­stand that the case was heard and con­cluded be­fore Mr Maimane’s speech on race,” said Trol­lip.

“So what he said on race can­not be ret­ro­spec­tive. It cer­tainly is ap­pli­ca­ble to the party and its vot­ers and po­ten­tial vot­ers, and cur­rent and fu­ture pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives from that Tues­day when he made it.”

Trol­lip added that the party had not re­ceived any no­ti­fi­ca­tions from the Equal­ity Court, but Bobani told City Press pa­pers were sent to the DA last week.

Bobani said they were con­fi­dent of a win, given that the of­fend­ing com­ment was recorded, the speaker found Roberts guilty and that a rec­om­men­da­tion would be made to the MEC for lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions that Roberts be re­moved as coun­cil­lor.

Last week City Press re­ported ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe had filed pa­pers at the Equal­ity Court fol­low­ing the DA’s sanc­tions against its MP Dianne Kohler Barnard for shar­ing a so­cial-me­dia post that praised late apartheid leader PW Botha.

Chris Roberts

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.