Cape Town – A provincial traffic officer is expected to lodge a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Monday after a motorist allegedly called him the K-word.
This is according to Western Cape provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa, who said the woman was arrested on Saturday after the incident in Somerset West and faces a charge of crimen injuria.
“A lady addressed one of my officers with the K-word. Although unfortunately I cannot divulge more on the matter as it is sub-judice, she will face a charge of crimen injuria. The officer will also lodge a formal complaint with the SAHRC,” said Africa.
Approached for comment, police spokesperson FC Van Wyk referred the Cape Times back to Africa.
SAHRC provincial commissioner Chris Nissen said he was aware of the incident and also encouraged the officer to lodge a complaint with his office.
“We don’t know why people don’t learn from prominent cases out there. They just refuse to see wrong. They continue to use racial slurs.
"We have had many reports from officials whether its traffic or police officers who have been verbally abused. Some chose not to pursue the issue and open cases while others do. In other cases we refer complainants to the Equality Court,” said Nissen.
“We really have a long way to go as a country. It’s 25 years (since apartheid ended) and we are still dealing with serious racist incidents. We really need integration and social cohesion programmes.
“Race discussions tend to be sensitive, uncomfortable for others and evoke a lot of emotions but they are needed. Churches and mosques can also intervene and assist the government.”
The officer’s case arises as the commission prepares for a high-profile matter involving Springbok rugby star Eben Etzebeth, currently in Japan for the Rugby World Cup.
The commission announced it had instituted legal proceedings against Etzebeth in the Equality Court following a complaint alleging that he physically and racially abused a Langebaan resident during an altercation and used the H-word.
Etzebeth has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela condemned the Somerset West incident and called for the law to take its course.
“People who still use that word must be criminally charged, especially against traffic officers, it’s treasonous. They have no place in our society.
"We are busy with a reconciliation project and we can’t risk reversing the gains we’ve made because of people who are still nostalgic about the past,” said Madikizela.
In March 2018, estate agent Vicki Momberg was sentenced to two years in prison with an additional year suspended.
Earlier this year Momberg lost her bid to appeal against her effective two-year jail sentence for crimen injuria.
Momberg was found guilty on four counts of crimen injuria after she called a black officer the K-word 48 times when he came to her aid following a smash-and-grab incident in 2016.
She insulted and swore at the officers. She had later stopped a marked police vehicle driving on Malibongwe Drive, which was busy with crime prevention duties.
She pointed her finger at one of the black officers and called him a “useless K*****”.