DA caucus leader Nicole Graham reports eThekwini official to Human Rights Commission for using racial slurs.

DURBAN - The DA has reported an eThekwini Municipality senior official to the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for referring to a senior colleague as the C-word in a leaked recorded phone call.

The senior eThekwini official, who heads a key unit in the city and whose name has been withheld, allegedly referred to his Indian colleague Krish Kumar, the city’s deputy city manager with the derogatory racial term “c*****” numerous times.

DA caucus leader Nicole Graham said they had written to city manager Sipho Nzuza, calling for the senior official to be suspended immediately.

In the recording, the senior official is heard repeatedly referring to Kumar as a c***** in a recorded phone call with a colleague. In the phone call, he is heard trying to convince the colleague to protect an official who is implicated in the orange bag scandal. The official is facing a disciplinary hearing within the city.

“His utterances where he admits to trying to subvert a disciplinary process and calls Krish a c***** are completely outrageous. We cannot have racists in the upper echelons of the city, especially when they show such disdain for respected colleagues. His admissions that he is bowing to political pressure are very worrying indeed,” said Graham in a letter to Nzuza.

Graham called for the senior official to be suspended in order for dignity to be restored for the affected officials and the city as a whole.   

The city’s investigations and integrity unit (CIIU) is investigating the matter, while the IFP in eThekwini said it was disturbing that politicians were involved in internal disciplinary processes.

The ANC is yet to comment.

“It is clear for all to see that (name withheld) is a political appointee who is attempting to subvert processes for his own ends. The DA calls on the city manager to immediately suspend (name withheld), and the Human Rights Commission to investigate his racist utterances,” said Graham.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday that the R90m orange bags tender scandal would be probed by the Special Investigating Unit.

Graham said the DA welcomed the move.

“It is clear, however, that politics is at play behind the scenes in eThekwini and that there is a clear intention from those in power to protect those close to them. The position (name withheld) holds requires a high level of professionalism, impartiality and ethical conduct. His racist disdain for Indian people, who make up a significant part of Durban's population, is nothing short of disgraceful,” said Graham.

A spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission could not be reached on her phone on Friday.