Ockert Cornelius Fourie. File photo: Facebook
Kimberley - DA councillor at the Sol Plaatje Municipality Ockert Fourie, whose 'vitriolic' Facebook post against bikers has gone viral, has not only been suspended from the party, but it also facing a hate speech investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission.

Fourie caused a social media storm at the weekend with a post calling riders of motorcycles, quads and scramblers "rubbish” who made him “blind with anger as they revved their engines” adding that he wanted to see their “blood and brains on lamp poles and in the tar on the road”.

His post, which has since been deleted, read:

“Everywhere these damned motorcycles, quads and scramblers are revving their engines until one goes blind with anger, as they take no person into account. They just think about themselves and when those engines scream into hell, I just wish to see pieces of steel, blood and brains against lamp poles and in the tar road.

“The rubbish just think how wonderful they and their bikes are, without thinking about the sick and elderly and shift workers and babies, as long as they can be cocky and show off. You can’t educate them as they swear at you and gang up against you and then make even more noise to taunt you.

“Blood and brains and pieces of skulls and intestines on lamp poles give these hateful people, without a conscience, satisfaction.”

'Totally unacceptable'

The post sparked a huge outcry from motorcyclists, both nationally and internationally, not only on Fourie’s Facebook page but also on online news sites, calling Fourie’s comments “totally unacceptable”.

On Sunday Fourie posted an apology on his Facebook page that read (translated): “I want to sincerely apologise to motorcycle riders for my post on Facebook and the referral to serious fatal consequences. My intention was not aimed at all motorcyclists, but I still want to express my sincere regret and again ask for forgiveness for my cruel post.

“If it is possible to understand, I want to say that there is a group of motorcyclists in my area that speed extensively and their motorcycles make an immense noise, especially over weekends and on Sundays. I am not justifying my behaviour by this and express my honest remorse and hope you can forgive me please.”

However, Facebook users were having none of it, with more than 200 comments by Tuesday afternoon, most saying that his apology would not be accepted.

'We don't accept your apology' 

John Livingstone posted: “You should have thought before you insulted us."

Others called for his immediate suspension from the DA.

Johan ”Andy” Kruger’s reaction was: “We, the DA voters of South Africa, demand that Ockert Cornelius Fourie resign from the party or be expelled from the party for inciting violence against users of motorcycles. No conversations are needed and no explanations can be acceptable. Strike one, you’re out.”

Rick Crouch commented: “As a motorcycle rider, I am also deeply offended by his comments, especially wanting to see our blood and brains on a lamp post.” 

Vincent Nhlasi Dube added: "As a DA councillor, he is a community leader, he should lead and unite people. If he had a problem with the bikers he was supposed to engage them instead of wishing that they would die, and that their brains would end up on the tar or on lamp posts. Very inhuman.”

Maria Letizia Dewar noted: “We are motorbike enthusiasts and my sons have motorbikes and this b...rd wants to see their brains on a lamp post! The DA better do something about this ‘councillor’ or my vote will go somewhere else.”

DA distances itself

Northern Cape DA leader Andrew Louw said on Tuesday it had been “unanimously decided” to suspend Fourie from all party matters with immediate effect, subject to an investigation, following an urgently convened Provincial Executive Council meeting.

"The DA is completely distancing itself from the utterances made by Fourie," Louw stated. “It does not speak to the DA’s values of freedom, opportunity and fairness.”

The South African National Civic Organisation on Tuesday called on the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate a case of hate speech against Fourie for “his vitriolic social media post”.

“Fourie’s Facebook post was not only an insult to Kimberly bikers," siad Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu, "but also an act of extreme provocation that warrants the Sol Plaatje Municipality and the DA to take action against him.”

Undermining Arrive Alive road safety campaign

Fourie’s tirade, he added, showed he had no respect for the voters who elected him into office.

“His post undermines the festive season’s Arrive Alive road safety campaign message, promoting responsible sharing of the road and the spirit of goodwill,” he stressed, adding that if Fourie had concerns about the conduct of bikers, he could have used other platforms for constructive engagement with them and acted more responsibly."

The Sol Plaatje Municipality on Tuesday “strongly condemned” Fourie’s utterances. 

Outrage justified 

“We are deeply embarrassed by the utterances of Fourie, an employee of the SPM," said spokesman Sello Matsie said. "He has offended a lot of people and the public’s outrage is justified.

“The post lacks sensitivity to victims of, and those who have lost loved-ones through, motorcycle accidents. We want to apologise to motorcyclists for Fourie’s utterances and re-affirm that they have as much right to the road as other road-users.”

On Tuesday Fourie said the furore had left him tired, nervous and sick, as he could not sleep or eat without throwing up. He added that he had received hundreds of messages, phone calls and visits to his home from as far as Johannesburg and America.

He again said that the post was made in a moment of frustration, “to get out of his system what had been building up for years”, referring to his anger at the noise made by motorcyclists in his neighbourhood.

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