Following the most recent online exposé of racism in South Africa – this time involving the Sodwana Bay Guest House’s refusal to accept black patrons – the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday spoke out, castigating both the guesthouse owner and all others guilty of discrimination.
“I wish to use this opportunity to state again that racism, and its bedfellows – homophobia, sexism, and religious intolerance – have no place in our democratic society,” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
“These incidents undermine and derail the difficult yet necessary project of building a fair and reconciled South Africa.”
Calling on all South Africans to not book into the #SodwanaBay guest house. We must all unite against racists.
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) June 23, 2016
Maimane was responding to news of Sodwana Bay Guest House owner André Slade’s admission his accommodation would no longer accept “blacks or government employees”. Slade – a self-proclaimed segregationist – was replying to a booking request for 12 people from a Sizakele Msimango.
The email reads: “Hi. We do not accommodate black or government officials any longer.”
The email was signed Enki André M Slade, with the Bible verse Proverbs 29:2 cited, which reads: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn”.
The Star newspaper reportedly contacted the guesthouse and owner Slade to hear his side of the story. Slade confirmed his position on the matter, adding that the South African Constitution was “Satan’s law”.
Following Slade’s refusal to accommodate her party, Msimango posted on social media a screenshot of the above mentioned email. Her post and the screenshot soon went viral, and the issue soon became a trending topic on both Facebook and Twitter over the course of Friday.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has since confirmed it will investigate the matter which Maimane welcomed, saying that, should the SAHRC “act expeditiously”, it would “send a clear message to racists and those who engage in racist behaviour that their harmful and hateful actions are not welcome in South Africa”.
KwaZulu-Natal Economic Tourism MEC Sihle Zikalala also said on Thursday that the Sodwana Bay guesthouse would be investigated.
“We condemn the behaviour of the owner of the guest house in the strongest terms possible. Such behaviour, if true, is not only abhorrent, but it is has no place in the new South Africa we are all trying to build,” Zikalala said.
Zikalala said he had asked his officials to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the facts, which would include contacting the alleged perpetrator and the victim.
Zikalala added that the Economic Tourism department had contacted the local municipality to establish whether the business was registered and operating in accordance with its licencing regulations. Tourism contributed billions of rands to the provincial economy, the MEC said.
“We cannot allow one individual to sully our reputational image as a tourism destination that is welcoming to all our people.”
Aside from his most recent racist rantings, Slade has previously expressed his views online on his blog “wheretofromhere.org”. Here, Slade made mention of Maimane, calling him a “beast” and “little bastard”.
Slade has also released a free-to-download book, also titled Where to from here, which was co-authored by Sodwana Bay guesthouse manager Katarina Križáni.
The Pretoria-born 52-year-old Slade and the 27-year-old Slovak Križáni are allegedly believers in the Ancient Mesopotamian myths of Inanna and Enki – among other alternative systems – which form the basis of their thoughts on race and civilisation. – African News Agency and News24