Cape town - A complaint has been lodged with the South African Human Rights Commission against the owner of a Somerset West car rental company after he refused to hire his cars to people who live in what he calls “coloured and black areas”.
This week, a 36-year-old coloured woman from Cloetesville in Stellenbosch reported Andy Bothma of Andy’s Car Rentals to the commission after he would not rent a car to her because she lived in a coloured area.
The businessmen confirmed his actions as so-called coloured and black areas were “very dangerous” and “high risk”.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, tried to hire a Tata for R175 per day from Andy’s Car Rental, but was told by Bothma he did not hire out his cars to coloured people.
“I wanted to hire a car from him and he agreed. I then asked him to please deliver it to me as I had no way of getting there and he said yes, but kept on insisting I tell him where exactly in Stellenbosch I lived,” she said.
She questioned why he wanted to know, but told him.
When she said Cloetesville, he allegedly told her he did not rent out his cars to coloured people or people living in Khayelitsha.
“I was so shocked and surprised that I asked him to repeat himself - and he did,” she said.
“I tried questioning him, but he was not having it and he cut the call. I do not understand how and why we still have this type of thinking in 2016.”
Bothma denied the allegations,accusing the woman of lying.
“I did not say I do not hire out to coloureds, I said that I do not hire out to coloured areas because they were very dangerous.”
‘Risk too high for insurance’
He added that if he hired out to coloured areas, the risk would be too high for insurance.
Bothma then said the woman kept on shouting at him and accusing him of being a racist
“I live with a coloured woman and I also hire out to black, white and green people, I just do not hire out to people living in townships.
“So, no Khayelitsha, Hanover Park or Cloetesville because people living there tend to strip cars.”
On Wednesday two Independent staff members, one black and one white, called Andy's Car Rental about hiring a car, but were both rejected because they lived in “dangerous areas”.
When the white man said he lived in Macassar, Bothma responded: “I do not allow my cars to go there.”
Soon after, when the black staff member called, she was rejected when she said she lived in Lwandle in Strand.
She was also told they do not allow their cars there.
“We do not allow our cars there because they had been stripped in the past,” said a female worker at Andy’s Car Rentals.
SAHRC provincial manager Karam Singh confirmed the commision had received a complaint from the Cloetesville woman.
“As this happened on Monday and has now only been received by the SAHRC, we will handle this complaint in terms of our complaints handling procedures.
“We first have to assess the matter to determine whether there is a prima facie human rights violation.”
He added the next step would be to register the complaint and proceed to get a response from the alleged perpetrator.
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