World Cup local organising committee chairperson Irvin Khoza has been given until Friday to apologise to South Africans for using the derogatory "k-word" at a press briefing this week.
Failure to heed the call could see Khoza being hauled before the equality court.
Khoza told a journalist to "stop thinking like a "k*****" when he was questioned about bitter fighting within the 2010 committee - and then repeated what he had said at a press conference this week.
In a letter to Khoza, Human Rights Commission (HRC) chairperson Jody Kollapen said the statement went against the ideals of a non-racial society.
"It conflicts with the values of equality and human dignity which are at the heart of our Constitution and is demeaning to black people," he wrote.
Kollapen said the commission disagreed with a justification offered by Khoza in media reports that he did apologise before making the comment.
"The apology was never intended in our view to cover the idea that was advanced in his statement - namely that black people's thought processes and intellectual abilities are inferior."
He said Khoza's statement was offensive and had caused hurt and indignity to many South Africans.
"If he doesn't respond or give explanation for his comments we would seriously consider taking him to court," said Kollapen. The commission was prepared to meet Khoza to resolve the matter.
If the matter goes to court it will be the second such case in two months. The commission took a Durban employer to the equality court after he sent an SMS to his wife referring to his domestic worker as a "k*****".
The employer mistakenly sent the message intended for his wife to the domestic worker, who reported the case to the HRC. The case is still pending.
Khoza defended his use of the word, saying the term was still used in the townships. Earlier this week he said he would only comment once he received a formal complaint from the HRC.
He could not be reached on Friday. - Staff Reporter