Rantso Mokopane's Facebook post detailing the attack involving friend Thabang Mosiako (pictured) on February. Picture: facebook.com/rantsob.mokopane

Johannesburg - The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) on Sunday condemned the alleged racist attack on long-distance runner Thabang Mosiako at a North West University event, describing it as a "brutal and barbaric act".

South African 5 000 metre champion Thabang Mosiako suffered a head injury after being attacked in an apparent racial incident in Potchefstroom in the North West last week.

According to media reports, Mosiako was injured in a racially-motivated attack in which the athlete was kicked and his head bashed into the ground by a group of as many as 10 white North West University (NWU) students on February 4. 

Mosiako, 22, woke up in Potchefstroom Hospital later in the day. Mosiako was with friends Rantso Mokopane and Sandy Londt who also reportedly suffered minor injuries in the attack. Mokopane, 23, is the reigning SA 3 000 metre steeplechase champion and took to Facebook to describe the incident.

The attack allegedly occurred at an off-campus rag party last weekend.

Sanco on Sunday said that the resurgence of racism undermines national unity, reconciliation and the nation-building project that was espoused by South Africa’s first democratic president and world icon Nelson Mandela.
"The incident is a blight on our democracy and a stark reminder that much more needs to be done to eradicate racism that the architects of apartheid had sowed seeds of white supremacy that is still being nurtured in closed communities which socialise children who are supposed to be born frees into poisonous racial hatred," said Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu.

Mahlangu called for a special team of investigators to be appointed to ensure that the 10 assailants responsible for the deplorable act on Mosiako and his two friends are unmasked and put behind bars.

He further urged North West University (NWU) students to assist police in their investigations so that there are no loose ends.     

He emphasised that unless the longing of pigmentocracy, as well as the bitterness of minorities expressed through racist violent attacks and a regrouping of white supremacists is addressed, it has the potential to haunt future generations.

Mahlangu said that public institutions and their neighbourhoods should not be allowed to be bastions of white supremacists.

He said that the country has been skirting around the problem of racism for far too long, believing that it would somehow go away.

A deliberate programme that goes to the heart of the problem must be adopted and rolled out before racial relations are further polarised, Mahlangu added.

“Overvaal has exposed simmering tensions that need to be urgently addressed to deepen transformation and entrench non-racialism. Exclusion is not an option that South Africa can afford if it is to realise Mandela’s vision of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, peaceful and democratic society,” he added, referring to the Afrikaans school which made headlines recently when it refused to accommodate English language pupils.

 Mosiako in January claimed victory in the Athletics SA Cross Country Trials in Manguang. In September, Mosiako beat highly accomplished SA marathoner Stephen Mokoka for the FNB Joburg 10km title in Johannesburg.

African News Agency/ANA