AfriForum welcomes suspension of mayor over racist statements

AfriForum welcomes the suspension of Nkosinjani Speelman, Executive Mayor of the Matjhabeng Municipality in Welkom, after he made derogatory racist comments aimed at a certain ethnic group of people in the area. AfriForum expects however that the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) still investigate the matter and that the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Premier of the Free State, as well as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) should take a stand against Speelman, as his statements amount to hate speech according to the civil rights organisation.

This follows after AfriForum yesterday filed a complaint of hate speech with the SAHRC against Speelman. Yesterday the civil rights organisation also demanded letters of disciplinary action against Speelman from the Minister, the Premier and SALGA.

In a video recording of Speelman addressing members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) he refers to residents of Bronville (a traditional brown community outside Welkom) as “Boesmans”. He also said the following: “In Bronville, jy weet mos party van die ‘Boesmans’ (you know some of the …), they take some chances; don’t hesitate. I talked to them yesterday, but when you close them (down), they get out and drink again.”

Speelman also says in the video that members of the SANDF must go to Bronville and show that they are soldiers. He added the soldiers must “skop and donner” if necessary and he would support them.

“AfriForum considers Speelman’s statements as hate speech because he targets an ethic group on the grounds of their identity and also encourages violence to be committed against that group. As an organisation that focuses on the protection of minority rights, AfriForum will see to it that this matter is handled with the required urgency,” says Natasha Venter, Senior Campaign Officer at AfriForum.

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