SOUTH Africans took to social media yesterday to respond to remarks that black people were like barbarians and should not be allowed on public beaches, with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) capturing the angry mood by suggesting that racists should consider leaving the country.
AKF director Neeshan Balton said the foundation strongly condemned the comments made by DA member and former estate agent Penny Sparrow, Standard Bank economist Chris Hart and others.
Sparrow and Hart sparked a national outcry after making racist statements on social media at the weekend.
The DA has lodged a criminal complaint against Sparrow yesterday and Standard Bank suspended Hart pending a disciplinary hearing.
“This is similar to the Taj Hotel asking the Cape Minstrels to remain silent on their parade route because hotel guests would be ‘disturbed’,” Balton said.
She said South Africans should recall the struggle to open beaches to all during the 1980s and should not pander to the views of people who want separate beaches and other facilities.
“Many African families save for months to get to the seaside on New Year’s Day.
“Racism has no place in this country. Perhaps those who hold racist views should consider living elsewhere,” she said.
AKF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation are set to host a series of workshops and conferences as part of the Anti-Racism Network of South Africa (Arnsa) during anti-racism week, March 14-21.
Balton called on South Africans to attend the Arnsa workshops to unite and act against racism.
Sparrow took to Facebook after New Year’s Day and without provocation referred to black people as “monkeys” who had no education.
“To allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and discomfort to others. This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try,” Sparrow’s post read.
Hart’s Twitter post on Sunday read: “More than 25 years after apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities.”
The posts, along with many others, caused outrage on social media as the hashtag #RacismMustFall trended all of yesterday.
Although Sparrow and Hart later apologised for their statements, they raised the ire of the ANC, DA and AKF.
Sparrow posted on Facebook using Jawitz Properties’ logo, which suggested she was still an employee at the firm.
Jawitz Properties chief executive Herschel Jawitz condemned her statements, saying she had left the company in November last year.
“We will take whatever action we deem necessary, including criminal, civil or any other action to get it removed and to get her shut down. We view this very seriously,” he said.
A statement from Standard Bank read: “Comments by Chris Hart are factually incorrect and have racist undertones that do not reflect our values.”
Hart responded: “This tweet has caused offense (sic) – never intended – for which I apologise wholeheartedly.
“Meant to be read in context of slow growth.”
DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s spokesperson, Mabine Seabe, said Sparrow has been served with a notice of intention to suspend her membership.
He has referred her conduct to the Federal Legal Commission for investigation.
“Racists are not welcome in the DA and have no place in our democratic South African society,” Seabe said.
ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa blamed DA deputy minister of public works Dianne Kohler Barnard, who was initially sacked by the DA for sharing a Facebook post suggesting that PW Botha was better than President Jacob Zuma.
Kohler Barnard was reinstated last month after successfully appealing her dismissal.
“The ANC acknowledges that many white people are committed to a unified nation, many others still remain inspired by SA’s apartheid past.
“Chris and Penny are just two of such people, but we must not allow ourselves to go back to apartheid.
“We view the statements in the same way we viewed Kohler Barnard’s post. It’s an attack on our country’s democracy,” Kodwa said.