Cape Times

DA defends Knysna councillor accused of racist remarks during council meeting

- CHEVON BOOYSEN Chevon.booysen@inl.co.za

THE DA in Knysna says comments allegedly made by its councillor Sharon Sabbagh, referring to her fellow councillor­s as “monkeys”, have been “misconstru­ed”.

During a recent council meeting in Knysna, Sabbagh is alleged to have said “we are gonna have a yeppa-yeppa monkey circus going on here”, with the EFF now calling for her immediate removal.

According to the EFF an audio recording of the comments was making the rounds on social media. The EFF in the province said the comments constitute­d crimen injuria.

“Sabbagh's racist behaviour is unacceptab­le and should never be left unchalleng­ed.

“The racist behaviour of referring and calling black people monkeys is not an isolated case, but both a structural and endemic phenomenon whose roots could be traced back to colonialis­m and later apartheid where black people were depicted in a negative light and their blackness portrayed as an aberration.

“In the South African context not only did colonialis­m undermine the human dignity of the black indigenous Africans but it also sought to locate them outside of the human family closer to the animal kingdom, hence their treatment as lesser human beings … her utterances are a microcosm of a much bigger institutio­nalised racism,” the party said in a statement.

EFF Western Cape has also called on the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigat­e Sabbagh and said they would lodge a case with police.

DA constituen­cy head for Knysna, Dion George, said the comments were “misconstru­ed”.

Probed about the context of the conversati­on, enquiries were referred to Sabbagh.

Sabbagh did not answer enquiries by deadline.

“The councillor's comments have been misconstru­ed and shamefully used to deflect voters' attention from the destructio­n the ANC/PA/EFF coalition caused in Knysna as a result of their absolute failure to deliver services to residents, especially to lower income households.

“The ANC/PA/EFF Coalition of Corruption has completely destroyed Knysna.

The ANC has called for Council to suspend her pending the outcome of an investigat­ion into a possible breach of code of conduct for councillor­s. “The ANC rejects these comments with the contempt they deserve and calls South Africans to join in the rejection of all racists in our country, wherever they are.

“It is sad that well meaning South Africa has to contend with this backward attitude.”

The Knysna Municipali­ty did not respond to questions by deadline.

 ?? | AYANDA NDAMANE Independen­t Newspapers ?? TWO people were killed in devastatin­g fires that ripped through informal settlement­s in areas including Mfuleni, Langa and Dunoon, displacing hundreds of people over the Easter weekend.
| AYANDA NDAMANE Independen­t Newspapers TWO people were killed in devastatin­g fires that ripped through informal settlement­s in areas including Mfuleni, Langa and Dunoon, displacing hundreds of people over the Easter weekend.

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