Kimberley - Kimberley DA councillor at the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Ockert Fourie, whose Facebook “vitriolic post” against bikers has gone viral, has not only been suspended from the party, but it also facing a hate speech investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
Fourie caused a social media storm after posting hateful remarks towards motorcyclists. He referred to users of motorcycles, quads and scramblers as “rubbish” who made him “blind with anger as they revved their engines” adding that he wanted to see their “blood and brains on lamp poles and in the tar on the road”.
“Everywhere these damned motorcycles, quads and scramblers are revving their engines until one goes blind with anger, as they take no person into account. They just think about themselves and when those engines scream into hell, I just wish to see pieces of steel, blood and brains against lamp poles and in the tar road,” his post read.
“The rubbish just think how wonderful they and their bikes are, without thinking about the sick and elderly and shift workers and babies, as long as they can be cocky and show off. You can’t educate them as they swear at you and gang up against you and then make even more noise to taunt you.
“Blood and brains and pieces of skulls and intestines on lamp poles give these hateful people, without a conscience, satisfaction,” the post, which has since been deleted, read.
The post sparked a massive outcry from bikers, both nationally and internationally, not only on Fourie’s Facebook page but also on online news sites.
“As a motorcycle rider, I am also deeply offended by his comments, especially wanting to see our blood and brains on a lamp post,” Rick Crouch commented.
“As a DA councillor, he is a community leader, he should lead and unite people. If he had a problem with the bikers he was supposed to engage them instead of wishing that they would die, and that their brains would end up on the tar or on lamp posts. Very inhuman,” Vincent Nhlasi Dube added.
“We are motorbike enthusiasts and my sons have motorbikes and this b...rd wants to see their brains on a lamp post! The DA better do something about this ‘councillor’ or my vote will go somewhere else,” Maria Letizia Dewar noted.
Northern Cape DA leader, Andrew Louw, on Tuesday said that it was “unanimously decided” to suspend Fourie from all party matters with immediate effect, subject to an investigation, following an urgently convened Provincial Executive Council meeting.
“Fourie will still be allowed to attend Sol Plaatje council and portfolio meetings until the matter, which has now become the subject of an urgent investigation by the DA, is resolved. The DA is completely distancing itself from the utterances made by Fourie.
“It does not speak to the DA’s values of freedom, opportunity and fairness,” Louw said.
The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Tuesday called on the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate a case of hate speech against Fourie for “his vitriolic social media post”.
“Fourie’s Facebook post was not only an insult to Kimberly bikers, but also an act of extreme provocation that warrants the Sol Plaatje Municipality and the DA to take action against him,” Sanco’s national spokesperson, Jabu Mahlangu, said. He added that Fourie’s tirade showed that he had no respect for the voters who elected him into office.
“His post undermines the festive season’s Arrive Alive road safety campaign message, promoting responsible sharing of the road and the spirit of goodwill,” he stressed, adding that if Fourie had concerns about the conduct of bikers, he could have used other platforms for constructive engagement with them and acted more responsibly.
The Sol Plaatje Municipality (SPM) on Tuesday “strongly condemned” Fourie’s utterances.
“As the SPM, we are deeply embarrassed by the utterances of Fourie, an employee of the SPM. He has offended a lot of people and the public’s outrage is justified.
“The post lacks sensitivity to victims of, and those who have lost loved-ones through, motorcycle accidents. We want to apologise to motorcyclists for Fourie’s utterances and re-affirm that they have as much right to the road as other road-users,” SPM spokesman, Sello Matsie said.
A despondent Fourie on Tuesday told the DFA that the matter had left him tired, nervous and sick, as he could not sleep or eat without throwing up.
He added that he had by on Tuesday he had received hundreds of messages, phone calls and visits to his house, mostly from people posing serious threats to him, from as far as Johannesburg and America, but also some messages of encouragement and support.
“Since the incident, I do not feel good. I am struggling to sleep without waking up in a cold sweat. I’m nervous. I can’t eat and can’t even keep a sip of water down without throwing up. However, there have been numerous messages of support as well,” Fourie said.
He again said that the post was made in a moment of frustration, “to get out of his system what had been building up for years”, referring to his anger at the noise made by motorcyclists in his neighbourhood.
Fourie concluded by saying that he had only heard “through the grapevine” about his suspension from the DA and had received no official communication from the party’s leadership.
He did add that national DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, had become “aware” of the matter and that he (Fourie) was now waiting for “processes to unfold”.
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