The civil rights organisation AfriForum today sent a letter to Dr Mandla Makhanya, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Unisa, demanding the dismissal of Unisa lecturer Muhammad Zakaria Asmal, who directed gender and racial abuse on social media towards a female professor, Nicoli Nattrass, at UCT. Asmal is also a PhD student at UCT.
On 24 June 2020 under the social media handle “Zax Asmal”, Asmal posted the following on Facebook:
“Nicoli Natrass is a dumb ass white bitch who is uglier than her dog.”
He goes on to state:
“In conclusion, I’m not sure whether Im [sic] more offended by the sickening ugliness of Natrass which is substantial..or her dog..”
“AfriForum is of the opinion that this level of gender-based body shaming, which also contains an element of racist speech, is deplorable. The prospect of Mr Asmal, who equates women to animals in terms of their appearance, being granted authority over students at an institution of learning is concerning. As a civil rights watchdog, AfriForum has therefore been forced to intercede in this matter and demands Mr Asmal’s dismissal,” says Ernst van Zyl, Campaign Officer for Strategy and Content at AfriForum.
Van Zyl also states that the remarks by Mr Asmal are vile.
“This level of abuse should not be acceptable at any institution of learning, therefore AfriForum requested that Unisa take swift and substantial action against Mr Asmal for his unacceptable racial and gender abuse directed at Prof Nattrass. We trust that Unisa will take the necessary, serious steps against Mr Asmal for his abusive remarks,” van Zyl concludes.