Pretoria - The police captain accused of racially abusing black police officials briefly made his second appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday morning.
Fellow police officers at the Pretoria Central Police Station filed various internal and criminal complaints against James Henrico for numerous acts of racism against them.
According to Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)‚ complaints lodged against Henrico date back to 2016 relating to racial abuse which, they claimed, have not been addressed.
Henrico allegedly used the ‘K-word’ and verbally harassed them.
LHR attorney and head of strategic litigation programme, Wayne Ncube said: “The officers and their union representatives have been fighting for the enforcement of procedures and appropriate measures against persons accused of such offences including related remedial action to ensure that it is properly addressed within the police station for over two years.”
Ncube said they recognised the importance of case.
“LHR have been approached by several police officials to assist them in this matter. This case represents one of numerous cases filed by police officers testifying to acts of racism prevalent in various police stations across the country.
This is taking place in the context of a segregated and a racially divided past in which the South African Police were the enforcers of policies of segregation and discrimination against the majority of black people in this country, he said.
In addition he said: “Racism has no place in our post democratic South Africa, particularly not in the very institutions charged with protecting the rights of all South Africans and being the custodians of the equality clause of our Constitution.”
The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has also weighed in, commending the assertiveness of officers for coming forward.
Sanco national spokesperson, Jabu Mahlangu ahead of Henrico’s appearance said: “We expect the court to assert new values of equality and respect for human rights enshrined in the Constitution because there is no place for racists in the public service and broadly in the united, non-racial,non-sexist,peaceful and democratic society we are striving to create.”
Mahlangu said the matter should not have been allowed to drag on for two years without being solved.
He said enforcement of the public service code of conduct through internal disciplinary processes should have assisted to clamp down on the resurgence of racism within the ranks of the SAPS.
"Whoever failed to deal with the misconduct must also face disciplinary action for abdicating their responsibility leading to polarised racial relations in the workplace," he said.
“Those who can’t bring themselves to accept the new order must vacate the public service or be sent packing,” he underscored.
The case was postponed to June 19 for disclosure.