SANDF man lands in race ep­i­thet row

Recorded as call­ing res­i­dent ‘straat hot­not’

Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE - DO­MINIC ADRI­AANSE do­minic.adri­[email protected]

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.

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