Johannesburg - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Thursday said it would still take action over "disturbing and offensive" statements in the open letter penned by Edward Zuma in which he denigrated former ministers Pravin Gordhan and Derek Hanekom, whom he described as “a sell-out minority ".
Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma, earlier on Thursday escaped censure from the ruling African National Congress (ANC), when he apologised for comments he made in the open letter.
However, the SAHRC said its chairperson, Advocate Bongani Majola, after consideration of the matter, decided to act on the disturbing and offensive statements contained in the open letter.
In the letter published by various online media outlets last week, Zuma described Hanekom as ''a white monopoly capitalist offspring and an Afrikaner racist'' and Gordhan as a corrupt ''white monopoly capital stooge".
Gordhan was fired by President Zuma and replaced by Malusi Gigaba, while Hanekom was also fired and replaced by Tokozile Xasa.
"The commission will be taking this matter to the Equality Court. The Commission strongly believes the contents of the open letter constitute hate speech, which contravenes freedom of expression as established in section 16 of the South African Constitution," said commission spokesperson Gail Smith.
In addition the commission said it was concerned about Edward Zuma’s statements in response to its initial statement, released on Friday.
Responding to threats of censure from the rights body, Edward Zuma at the weekend said the SAHRC was a "vile dog unleashed to maul the black majority".
On Thursday the SAHRC said it viewed the comments as a contravention of the SA Human Rights Act .
Smith said SAHRC commissioners met on Tuesday and they took a decision "to criminally charge" Edward Zuma.
African News Agency