Alleged racist leaves employees angry and yearning for justice

Screengrab from a CCTV footage showing the vehicle in which occupants are accused of alleged racism amid using the “K-word”

Screengrab from a CCTV footage showing the vehicle in which occupants are accused of alleged racism amid using the “K-word”

Published Jul 2, 2024


Petrol attendants and other employees at Batho Pele Shell filling station in Brackendowns, Ekurhuleni, are upset after a white customer allegedly called them the k-word.

One of the employees, Violet Thanjekwayo, took it upon herself to go and open a case on Monday following the Sunday incident.

She said the man and his wife travelling in a car (registration known to “The Star”) came to wash a car.

According to her, the couple attempted to cheat the system by entering from the exit so that their car would be washed first ahead of customers who arrived before them.

Thanjekwayo said the moment she and some colleagues noticed, they immediately told other employees not to allow the couple’s car to be washed before others because that would leave other customers unhappy.

“First the wife shouted at us questioning why we were telling other colleagues what to do. The husband called us the k-word as they both shouted at us in Afrikaans. Fortunately, I understand and speak the language very well,” she said.

The visibly upset Thanjekwayo said she reminded the alleged racist that she was not their parents and ancestors who used to be abused in the apartheid system.

She said she knows her rights and is protected by the Constitution.

“I am very upset that some people see it fit to swear and belittle us because we are black. I am very upset and I want justice to prevail. This man swore at us in Afrikaans, I told him that I can understand the language. He called us with the k-word more than three times. I want him to be arrested,” said Thanjekwayo.

She said she told the man that she was going to report him. However, she claims that he told her that he is privileged and will not be arrested.

Gauteng police have confirmed that they are investigating a case of crimen injuria after the complainant opened a case at Brackendowns police station.

“Police can confirm that a case of crimen injuria has been opened at Brackendowns police station. No arrest has been made yet. The investigation is under way,” Gauteng provincial SAPS Lieutenant-Colonel Mavela Masondo said.

In May, President Cyril Ramaphosa passed the Preventing and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, which outlaws offences of hate crimes and the offence of hate speech and the prosecution of persons who commit those offences.

This legislative measure gives effect to South Africa’s obligations in terms of the Constitution and international human rights instruments concerning racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in accordance with international law obligations.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the new Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Act provides for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech, effective enforcement measures and the gathering and recording of data on hate crimes and hate speech.

“A hate crime is committed if a person commits any recognised offence under any law that is motivated by prejudice or intolerance on the basis of one or more characteristics or perceived characteristics of the victim, as listed in the legislation or a family member of the victim,” Magwenya said.

The Star

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