SAHRC guns for ‘racist’ DA MP

DA MP Renaldo Gouws has been under the spotlight for his rants, especially directed towards black people, since he was sworn in last week as a DA MP. Picture: Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

DA MP Renaldo Gouws has been under the spotlight for his rants, especially directed towards black people, since he was sworn in last week as a DA MP. Picture: Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 21, 2024


Pressure is mounting on the DA to call out and remove racists in its ranks following the suspension of MP Renaldo Gouws for using derogatory language, including the k-word, in a video inciting violence against black people.

“Alright so there’s a couple of things I want to say. Kill the f***ing k****rs, kill all the f***ing n****rs. That’s all I gotta f***ing say. Kill all the k****rs! Kill all the f***ing n****rs!” he can be heard saying in the video.

Gouws first denied having made such a video when contacted by IOL and also insinuated the video may have been manipulated by AI technology.

The video was retrieved from the internet archive, which collects snapshots of web pages from time to time for retrieval and sent to IOL.

While the video had been deleted from YouTube, it still exists in this archive and has resurfaced after first being published in 2009.

Gouws has been under the spotlight for his rants, especially directed towards black people, since he was sworn in last week as a DA MP.

In his defence, DA leader John Steenhuisen said Gouws made the remarks when he was young and immature, and also that Gouws had apologised. That was before the party announced that it had placed Gouws on suspension.

“The DA has established that the video, in which Gouws uses execrable language, is in fact genuine and not a fake as initially suspected. The DA federal executive has therefore suspended Gouws with immediate effect while he faces disciplinary charges before the party’s federal legal commission.”

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has since instituted proceedings against Gouws “for using extremely offensive and derogatory language” at the Equality Court in Gqeberha.

“This explicit content, initially published on his YouTube channel in March 2010, was archived despite being deleted and has resurfaced, revealing behaviour that is incompatible with the principles of dignity and equality enshrined in South African law.

“(The) commission was tagged by aggrieved citizens on social media seeking that it intervenes in this matter.

“Following assessment of the content, the commission has concluded that utterances allegedly made by Gouws constitute hate speech and/or harassment ... (as an MP) his alleged actions carry even greater weight and responsibility, as he is expected to uphold and embody the principles enshrined in the Constitution, including human dignity, equality, and non-discrimination,” the SAHRC said.

Human rights activist Nkosikhulule Nyembezi said the remarks made by Gouws called into question whether the DA was a transformed party.

“For the DA to quietly suspend Gouws and pretend that this was an isolated incident that happened many years ago – without publicly condemning his prejudiced attitude, hurtful utterances and abrasive attacks unreservedly – speaks to the unequal power relationship in these circumstances that involve a white man attacking black people. The shortcoming warrants public scrutiny.

DA’s Renaldo Gouws. | Screengrab

“It seems apparent that there are some in the DA who are perpetuating the racial superiority discourse, using political power to control the economic resources that confer privileges and, ultimately, letting down the national unity commitment of the majority of the citizens. The party must act decisively and remove racists from public office because its failure to act – to do the right thing – is generative: it implies that the descendants of the racially oppressed have been discriminated against without recourse time and time again,” said Nyembezi.

Cosatu’s parliamentary co-ordinator, Matthew Parks, said while the DA has moved to “suspend this obnoxious delinquent”, this was not enough.

“The DA has admitted this offensive brat indeed posted these racist rants on X (Twitter), including calls for violence against black citizens. These are not the once-off spews of hatred by a confused teenager some years ago. This malcontent has spent endless hours on social media unleashing hatred that goes far beyond what any civilised society should accept.

“The DA needs to realise it has a serious problem that is not limited to one factory fault, but is anchored upon a history of being soft on racists, and all too often blowing the dog whistle that excites such behaviour. It needs to reflect on and address this if it wants to be accepted as a partner in the Government of National Unity by ordinary South Africans,” said Parks.

Attempts to get further comment from Gouws were unsuccessful by deadline on Thursday.

In a social media post, prior to the announcement of his suspension, Gouws wrote: “A snippet of a video that I posted 16 years ago (back in 2009) when I was young and still a student has been recycled and posted on social media over the last few days.

“I addressed this snippet in 2016 and again in 2020 when approached by the media when it was posted on social media. (Articles on this can be googled.) This was at the time when then president Zuma and then youth leader Malema were singing songs about killing people based on their race and threatening to take land away from property owners.

“Before this and before these snippets were used publicly against me, I posted a lengthy Facebook post from 2013 in which I apologised for how I delivered my message in my videos (angry, hostile, confrontational and crass). I refute any claims against me of racism or being a racist,” wrote Gouws.

Cape Times