Durban — KZN DA spokesperson Sithembiso Ngema said the DA had acted over the voice note made by its councillor in the Newcastle Municipality in which she called newly-elected ward committee member Thandeka Mhlanga “a black lady”.
“When the party became aware of these allegations late last year, an investigation was immediately launched and concluded before the end of 2022.
“The councillor in question has admitted guilt and expressed her remorse.
“The DA will now consider the investigation outcome, along with the admission made by the councillor,” Ngema said.
Newcastle Municipality ward 3 councillor Connie Hariram made the voice recording after a ward committee meeting in February 2022.
Speaking to the Daily News, an irate Mhlanga said she attended a ward committee meeting on February 3, 2022. When the community raised her name to be elected as a ward committee member, she accepted and was elected.
“Later that evening, Hariram made a voice recording asking the attendees why they nominated and elected me to become a ward committee member because I am black,” she said.
The attached voice recording said: “The first thing is that the lady, Thandeka, she is a black lady. We were all Indians there. Who voted for her? The Indians?”
Mhlanga said: “I then heard people talking about that voice recording which was circulating within social media circles.
“When I finally received that voice recording in September, I decided to forward it to Newcastle Municipality Speaker Moses Zulu.
“When I realised the speaker was ignoring the matter, I took a decision to open a case against Hariram at the Equality Court for her discriminatory comment,” Mhlanga said.
Mhlanga said that after a prolonged back-and-forth at the court, she received a phone call from the lawyers sent by Hariram on December 5, asking her to agree to an out-of-court settlement.
“I decided to ignore the lawyers’ call and launched a complaint against Hariram with the South African Human Rights Commission on December 6. The matter is with them now,” she said.
Asked for her reply, Hariram said: “Is she not black?” after which she said the matter was being handled by the DA.
“The IEC officials had issued a directive that no one with a criminal record should be elected to be a ward committee member.
“After Mhlanga’s election, I received numerous calls and messages from the people asking me how she was elected because she has two criminal records?”
Hariram insisted she was not being racist.
ActionSA’s KZN chairperson, Zwakele Mncwango, said ActionSA had been made aware of the incident involving DA ward councillor Hariram against Mhlanga.
“As a party that is against racial discrimination, ActionSA’s legal team is looking at assisting Mhlanga in taking legal action against the racist councillor by ensuring that justice is served, and her rights that have been publicly violated, protected.”