Johannesburg - A police officer is in hot water and facing a case of crimen injuria for his alleged racist post on social media.
ANC Youth League (ANCYL) provincial executive committee member Percy Sithole opened a case at the Heidelberg police station after one of its officers began posting alleged racist remarks on Facebook.
The officer, Riaan van Rensburg, shared a series of posts that sparked outrage on social media. One post shared on the right-wing political party Front Nasionaal SA page depicts a group of baboons seated in congress, which Van Rensburg captioned, ANC and EFF.
He also commented: “Planet of the apes in South Africa!”
In another post, Van Rensburg said, “you just can’t get the forest and blockhead out of him", in response to rioters at the Chiefs v Free State Stars soccer match that turned violent at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Speaking to The Star, Sithole said remarks like these “cannot be allowed, especially when the person is a public servant, because that is a person that is getting paid by taxpayers”.
Sithole's sentiments were backed by an angry chorus of supporters on social media. @MhloaPhiwe tweeted: "It’s amazing a so-called police officer in Heidelberg GP can say such.”
The ANCYL also said they were in full support of Sithole’s case. “This is but a clear signal of what we have long been saying regarding the urgent need for the security cluster to be transformed,” said ANCYL spokesperson Mbali Hlophe.
“Racists who worked under the criminal apartheid system remain within our institutions and in this era much like in apartheid continue to treat our people with great disdain.”
Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubela said this was an isolated case and he did not think that it was part of a wider problem within the SAPS.
“We have opened a case of crimen injuria and it will be taken to court,” Makhubela said.
“There will be an internal investigation that will be opened about the conduct of the officer,” he said.
Sithole said that he hoped that by opening the case he could have Van Rensburg removed from his position and prosecuted in the court of law.
The case comes just a month after Vicki Momberg became the first South African to receive jail time for racist remarks under the crimen injuria law.
Sithole said he was optimistic that the Momberg ruling indicated that the outcome of the case would be in his favour.
Sithole said he felt strongly about this case as Van Rensburg was an officer in his hometown, where he paid taxes.
“It brings a lot of pain. It can’t be that 23 years down the line we can’t see the Rainbow Nation visible. That is disturbing to all of us.”