Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

SAHRC receives complaints about Zuma, Mbete comments

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has received a complaint regarding President Jacob Zuma’s comments about Jan van Riebeeck, as well as National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete calling Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) leader Julius Malema a cockroach, it said on Wednesday.

The complaint against Zuma related to statements attributed to him on Friday last week at an ANC fundraiser, where he reportedly told some of the country’s wealthiest people that “all the trouble began” in 1652 when Van Riebeeck landed in the Cape.

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said: “They [the Freedom Front Plus] claim that the statement generalised negatively about the descendants of Jan van Riebeeck and white people in particular, and that the statement demonised Afrikaners based on an incorrect historical view.”

The SAHRC was assessing the complaint to decide whether or not it had the mandate to pursue it, but it was not known how long this process would take.

FF Plus spokesperson Anton Alberts said the party felt compelled to lay the complaint because it thought the remarks attributed to Zuma constituted a form of hate speech.

“He spoke on a racial basis. He referred to whites and wherever whites engaged with black people, they engaged in aggressive acts and warfare and displacement of black people,” said Alberts.

“He [Zuma] also said that the ANC was a formation of indigenous people … which implies other people can’t be regarded as indigenous.”

Mbete’s ‘cockroach’ comment
“I can confirm that the SAHRC has received a complaint regarding alleged utterances by Speaker Baleka Mbete, in which she is alleged to have referred to … Malema as ‘cockroach’,” said Mangena.

During Tuesday’s debate on President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Mbete should withdraw the remark.

Ndlozi was referring to reports that Mbete, addressing an ANC North West congress at the weekend, spoke of “cockroaches like Malema“.

“If we don’t work we will continue to have cockroaches like Malema roaming all over the place,” the Mail & Guardian quoted her as saying. 

Mangena said the complaint, laid by a member of the public, was one of hate speech and incitement to violence.

“The commission is assessing the complaint with the view to investigate.” – Sapa, Staff Reporter

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

More top stories

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

Environmentalists are trying to save South Africa’s obscure endangered species

Scientists are digging for De Winton’s golden moles, working on the mystery of the riverine rabbit and using mesh mattresses to save the unique Knysna seahorse

Shadow states infest Africa’s democracies

Two recent reports show evidence that democracy in Africa is being threatened by private power networks
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×