SANParks accused of bid to twist racism saga
AFRIFORUM yesterday accused SA National Parks of trying to wriggle out of allegations of racism by casting doubt on the integrity of white hikers who say they were turned away from a hut on Table Mountain.
“It is a pity that SANParks, instead of apologising to the students and making it clear that all accommodation on Table Mountain is accessible to people of all races, now appear to cast doubt on the complainants personally,” AfriForum said in a statement.
The civil rights group lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission after being infor med that two students, Etienne and Stiaan Terblanche, were turned away from the People’s Trial Hut because they were white.
Earlier this week, SANParks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli said he was surprised when he learnt of the case in the media as the two brothers had never made a formal complaint to the conservation body.
He said SANParks was nonetheless trying to probe the incident but suggested the Terblanche family was not being helpful and had failed to provide proof that they had called the People’s Trial Hut.
This also drew an angry response from Stef Terblanche, the hikers’ father, who said he personally informed SANParks area manager, Gavin Bell of the incident.
He claims Bell acknowledged that a mountain trial brochure mistakenly presents the People’s Trial Hut as being reserved for “previously disadvantaged groups” and said it would be replaced.
“Why does Reynold Thakhuli... now try to make us out to be liars and cast doubt on us?”
AfriForum has said the students’ complaint has led to more hikers coming forward with claims that they too were turned away from the hut on racial grounds. –Sapa