Gauteng radio station Hot 91.9FM has fired Breakfast Show presenter Sasha Martinengo after he referred to EFF leader Julius Malema as a monkey. File picture: Sasha Martinengo/Instagram

Johannesburg - Gauteng radio station Hot 91.9FM has fired Breakfast Show presenter Sasha Martinengo after he referred to EFF leader Julius Malema as a monkey.

"This morning an unfortunate and completely unacceptable incident took place during the Breakfast Show whereby, during the course of the broadcast, a reference was made by anchor presenter, Sasha Martinengo, who said '[A]nd people still listen to this monkey', referring to Mr. Julius Malema," Lloyd Madurai, Managing Director of Hot91.9fm, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"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.

"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."

Martinengo later tweeted that he stood by what he said. "Anyone, irrespective of their race, colour, creed, religion, gender who disrespects a woman is a monkey."