#MattTheunissen sparks outcry with racist Facebook post
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Cape Town - A Noordhoek resident’s racist Facebook post, in which he went off on Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula’s “ban” on three sporting codes hosting international tournaments, has landed him in hot water.
Matthew Theunissen’s early morning post on Facebook was screengrabbed and quickly went viral on Twitter, where it was shared, and propelled #MattTheunissen to the number one position among the social network’s trending topics.
Theunissen posted on Facebook: “So no more sporting events for South Africa… I’ve never been more proud than to say our government are a bunch of K*****S…yes, I said it so go and f**k yourselves you black f**king c**ts.” (Ed’s note: IOL has inserted the stars)
The post sparked an outcry on Twitter.
You managed to offend blacks AND whites simultaneously, you idiot. You'll never outlive the shit-storm you created. #matttheunissen
— Leon Senekal (@leonsenekal) May 3, 2016
#MattTheunissen Very disappointed with your disgusting comments.
It’s a disgrace. Please un-learn and re-learn your values
— MSS (@MSS702) May 2, 2016
— Babalo (@BabaloRSA) May 3, 2016
On his LinkedIn profile’s summary, the 26-year-old describes his strengths, stating: “Good leadership, analytical and logical thinking, as well as an ability to work under pressure and deal with a diversity of people.”
In no time Theunissen’s LinkedIn profile was uncovered, which showed that, originally from Durban, he had settled in Cape Town and had attained a Master’s in environmental management from Stellenbosch University.
He had also completed a Master’s degree at Utrecht University in the Netherlands through a partnership between European and South African universities.
According to his profile, he works in water resource management.
Called on Monday, Theunissen was at first surprised, saying he did not have a Twitter account, but when asked about his Facebook post, he ended the call. He didn’t answer his phone again.
Theunissen’s CV, containing his telephone number and home address, embedded on his publicly available LinkedIn profile, later made it on to Twitter, where it was widely distributed through “retweets”.
Theunissen’s racist rant comes days after Rhodes Must Fall activist Ntokozo Qwabe, who is also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, was criticised for his post on Facebook in which he described how he and his fellow activists had refused to tip a white waitress, writing instead on the receipt: “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND”.
On Monday, the Western Cape ANC condemned Qwabe’s post, with provincial spokesperson Yonela Diko saying: “Ntokozo Qwabe’s behaviour is as much borderline criminal behaviour as it is helplessly foolish.”
Last week, Mbalula released a damning report on the progress of transformation in sport, which showed that the SA Rugby Union, Cricket South Africa and Athletics South Africa had done very little to meet their own targets.
This prompted Mbalula to ban the sporting bodies from hosting international competitions. The ban will be reviewed next year.
Commenting on the matter on his Twitter page, Mbalula said: “The playing field is not the same, historically. That is the recognition that white people must understand, some of them… We’re seeking to level the playing field and integrate our society because our strength is in our diversity and that is what is important.
“What we cannot undo is those who are racist and believe that another race is superior than the other (sic).”
He said failing to deal with transformation now would “catch up” with South Africa in the future.
On Monday, Cape Town mayor Patricia deLille said: “These comments and that kind of language is totally and utterly despicable.
“My office will look into this and we will make contact with Matt to address this because he clearly does not understand how hurtful racism is and that we now live in a democracy where we are all equal, and no one can discriminate, disrespect or infringe on anyone’s rights or dignity.”
DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said Theunissen’s comments were appalling.
“There’s absolutely no space in South Africa for racism, the espousing of racist views,” said Van Damme.
“We see that the matter has already been reported to the South African Human Rights Commission and we trust that swift action will be taken against him.”
Earlier this year Durban real estate agent Penny Sparrow was hit by the wrath of social media after her Facebook post, in which she described black beachgoers as “monkeys” because she was upset at the litter left behind after the New Year’s rush on beaches. Sparrow has gone to ground after she was reported to the SA Human Rights Commission.