Sasha Martinengo. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has welcomed the dismissal of popular radio DJ Sasha Martinengo by Hot 91.9 FM, saying it will open criminal charges against him for calling party leader Julius Malema a ''monkey.''

''Unlike many who accept apologies from racists, this station refused to stop there and took a step further by firing a racist. It is obvious that they [Hot 91.9 FM] acted decisively because they knew they would face the full might  of the EFF like H&M did,'' the party said in a statement.

''The EFF is however not satisfied with firing of the DJ. We will, through our branches, be opening a criminal case against him because racists belong in jail.''

Martinengo was fired with immediate effect on Tuesday after his breakfast show. He joined the station in September last year after leaving 5FM.

The station's managing director Lloyd Madurai said Martinengo commented on air: ''And people still listen to this monkey...'', referring to Malema. 

''The values of this radio station include a full and unconditional commitment to the South African Bill of Rights and an all-encompassing respect for all our community, irrespective of their political point of view. The statement by the presenter violated the station’s code of conduct and its commitment to our national democratic values and furthermore is viewed in an extremely serious light,'' Madurai said in a statement posted on Facebook.

''As such, notwithstanding the presenter’s immediate and unreserved apology, the station has forthwith elected to remove him from all involvement with the radio station with immediate effect. Furthermore, the station hereby issues a public apology to Mr. Malema and deeply regrets any adverse inference that the conduct of the presenter has had.''

In a tweet posted following his sacking, Martinengo said he stood by his comment.

''I’m sorry if I offended anyone, but I stand by what I said. Anyone, irrespective of their race, colour, creed, religion, gender who disrespects a woman is a monkey,'' Martinengo tweeted.

Martinengo was previously at 5FM for years before moving to Hot 91.9 FM. He is also a presenter of Formula 1 on Supersport.

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African News Agency (ANA)