Penny Sparrow, Justin Van Vuuren, Carron Nadauld Gouws, high profile economist for Standard Bank Chris Hart — they are just four people who have been excoriated for alleged racist comments on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.
Sparrow, a former Jawitz Properties estate agent on Saturday said: “from now I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same pick drop and litter. (sic)” Sparrow wrote in part.
Gouws posted on her wall “that without the whites landing in SA and making it civilised all you blacks would still be living in your mud huts…”
In another Facebook rant, a Justin Van Vuuren calls Durban beachgoers “animals” and the “scum of the nation”. “Go back to where you came from and take your 13 kids with you!” he wrote on his page.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in response said it noted with “serious concern” the alleged racist comments attributed to some people on social media.
“The posts went viral sparking outrage in most South Africans who are committed to a country without discrimination and to overcoming the divisions entrenched by decades of inequality and oppression,” SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said.
He said the SAHRC had launched an investigation into the comments, which may lead to further legal steps.
“It is very concerning to the Commission that 22 years into democracy there are still comments and actions that incite and promote racism.
He noted the Commission however recognised the comments did not represent the views of the majority of South Africans who were doing their part to build a democratic and equal society.
“We encourage those who feel aggrieved to lodge a formal complaint with us.”
Meanwhile, concerned citizen Tshepo Ditshego said: “it is extremely disappointing people like this still exist in our country”.
Ditshego said comments like Sparrow’s dampened South Africans’ resolve to reconcile as a nation and create a non-racial society.
“It really takes us back quite a few steps as a country when we are trying really hard to unite people of all races and reverse the ills of apartheid.
“What these comments show is that the divisions and lines created by apartheid are still very clear 21 years on,” Ditshego said.
“When we see these kind of posts, they take us back to pre-1994 and it shows us that although it looks like things have changed, they haven’t really.
“However it doesn’t mean black people want white people to leave the country, all it means is that there is a distrust and there is reluctance to want to progress from the side of whites and as a result it makes us wonder as to why we should be as peaceful and harmonious as we’ve always been.”
In 2012, model Jessica Leandra Dos Santos, was dropped by sponsors after she tweeted about wanting to punch a k***** for being “arrogant and disrespectful”.
In 2013, Justine Sacco was fired for tweeting “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m White!”