CAPE TOWN - ANC MP Faiez Jacobs has remained mum following an instruction by Parliament to apologise for calling DA Western Cape councillor Angus McKenzie a “house-n****r” at least 26 times on the community WhatsApp group.
DA Constituency Head for Tygerberg, Alexandra Abrahams, in July this year lodged a complaint with the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests against Jacobs for an alleged breach of the Code of Ethical Conduct, saying that Jacobs had posted around 26 messages on the Bonteheuwel Community group chat, referring to McKenzie by the derogatory term.
McKenzie also lodged a complaint with the SAPS, which is still ongoing.
According to the joint committee’s report, released at the end of last week, Jacobs never denied using the term, arguing that he did not intend to defame McKenzie or use the term in a racist manner.
Jacobs also argued that “the committee should have been aware that the term was used during the period of slavery in the US to refer to slaves who worked in the mansions of plantation owners”, and “the expression relates to a slavish mentality and not the fact that the person was black”.
The report found Jacobs to have breached the code of conduct, and the committee instructed: “That the member (Jacobs) enter a public apology in the House for using the derogatory and discriminatory term ‘house-n****r’ to refer to Mr McKenzie on a WhatsApp group chat that consisted of members of the community and members of various political parties.”
Several attempts to get comments from Jacobs were unsuccessful on Sunday.
McKenzie said he welcomed the finding.
“My hope is that Faiez will use this judgment and pending sanction as a lesson that people not only place us in positions of power but expect us to lead – lead the change and be an example. The criminal case will continue.”
Abrahams said they awaited the apology.
“As we await Mr Jacobs’ unreserved apology to Mr McKenzie, let this finding serve as a reminder to all South Africans that racism and discrimination has no place in our society and must be called out on every platform without fear or favour.
“As constituency head for Tygerberg 1 and Member of Parliament, I submitted a formal complaint to the ethics committee against Mr Jacobs as he had breached 10.1.1.3 of the ethical code of conduct and disclosure of members’ Interest ... which provides a member must ’maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of Parliament and thereby engender the respect and confidence that society needs to have in Parliament as a representative institution; and in the performance of their duties and responsibilities, be committed to the eradication of all forms of discrimination’.”