SANDF man lands in race epithet row
Recorded as calling resident ‘straat hotnot’
Surely he has colleagues of different races? What does he think about them? Tim van Heerden Complainant
A MEMBER of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has landed in hot water after allegedly referring to a civilian as a “straat hotnot”.
This followed a heated argument between the member and Kraaifontein resident Tim van Heerden, who recorded the exchange.
The argument was over Van Heerden’s son and the member’s step-daughter and their child.
Van Heerden said the member stationed at Air Force Base Overberg in Bredasdorp had been threatening his son, claiming to be a part of military intelligence investigating his son for alleged involvement with terrorists.
In the recording which the Cape Times has heard, the two argue before the SANDF member ends the call with the comment.
“I was very upset and bemused actually, and I told him he’s a ‘swaap’ (idiot). He then told me, ‘Jy gaan aan soos n straat hotnot’ (you’re acting like a street hotnot).
“This person is a serving member of the air force. Surely he has colleagues of different races? What does he think about them?” he asked.
Van Heerden said he reported the matter to a senior officer at the base, who informed him that he would speak to the member. He added that the military had to do what was necessary according to its standing orders, but it should be seen as a major transgression when a member made such comments to a member of the public.
The member could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Last year, army major Mageti Vincent Mohlala, stationed at the SANDF’s signal formation in Wonderboom military base in Pretoria, was fired for posting on social media that it was now “white people’s turn to be killed and tortured as a revenge for apartheid”.
Mohlala, who served with the SANDF for 13 years, posted on Facebook that Braam van Wyk, an elderly man who was brutally attacked at his home in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg, had come off lightly and that his tongue and eyes should have been “cut out” by his attackers.
Mohlala was initially reprimanded by the SANDF, but it was felt that this was not enough.
SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi said: “The SANDF has a zero tolerance for racism and as in the Mohlala matter, has acted when its members have been found guilty of racism.
“This matter would be subjected to an investigation of which the outcome would determine the action which would be taken. This, however, does not prohibit the civilian from reporting the matter to an external authority.”
South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) provincial commissioner Chris Nissen said that Van Heerden had the right to turn to the judicial system, as no member, even a civil servant, was above the law.
“The person has proof of this ugly comment being made by this person and can take this matter to the equality court or report this matter to the SAHRC and I will personally ensure this is escalated to the proper authority.
“We condemn such outburst and no one in South Africa can make racist comments without facing the consequences,” he said.