Cape Town - Mondli Madlala, the author of the social media post purporting to show a racist and offensive email written by a MiWay staff member, has apologised.
According to MiWay, Madlala - a former client of the insurance company - was identified in an independent forensic investigation into the incident. The company says he used a MiWay email to "generate a false and defamatory mail containing racist remarks and making false allegations about MiWay’s claims handling policies," after the insurer rejected a claim he submitted.
On Friday Madlala met with MiWay CEO, René Otto and MiWay Head of Marketing and Brand Nthabiseng Moloi to apologise, and said he had not experienced any racism from MiWay or any of the company's staff.
MiWay said it "recognises that it could have done better in its communication with the client, which possibly could have contributed to Mr. Madlala’s dissatisfaction. It must be noted that this did not affect the merits of the case".
Given the option to make a public apology or face legal action, Madlala agreed to a joint statement with MiWay, regretting his actions. Madlala apologised for "bringing the company into disrepute, to MiWay employees, especially the two who received hate mail and death threats as a result of his actions, and to the people of South Africa, for stoking racial tensions".
In the joint statement with MiWay, Madlala said: “I apologise sincerely for my actions. I acted impulsively and without any thought to how this post would spiral out of control. I have learnt how dangerous social media can be, if misused, especially in South Africa. I also realise that I put the two MiWay employees in danger and I plan to meet with them, to apologise again in person.”
Two MiWay employees implicated by Madlala have accepted his apology and will also not press any charges against him, the company said.
“Our objectives in investigating and pursuing this matter were to prove our innocence, protect the staff members who were falsely implicated, and not act in way that would further fuel the racial divide. We accept Mr. Madlala’s apology and we hope that this is a lesson to many people that you can’t get away with something like this. We trust that this matter has now been laid to rest,” Otto said.
Madlala has also agreed to give talks at the six schools in MiWay’s CSI initiative, the MiHeart Project, about the dangers of social media.