No one group of people has a monopoly on racism – and both victims and their current or former oppressors can be just as guilty.
That has just been emphasised by a police disciplinary committee ruling, which says that a general who made racist and humiliating remarks towards training personnel be fired.
Major-General Sandra Malebe-Thema was convicted on three charges of serious misconduct early in December. She was found to have made “discriminatory, derogatory, improper, unacceptable and inappropriate” remarks regarding race and “disparaging, insulting, humiliating and divisive” remarks about the weight of a selected group of staff at a police training academy.
Malebe-Thema said there were too many white faces occupying positions and that the so-called discrimination against black students would be stopped.
But it is worrying that trade union Solidarity had to go to court to force the police to hold a disciplinary hearing in the first place: an indication that management saw nothing wrong in the general’s conduct.
It also remains to be seen whether the committee ruling is acted upon and Malebe-Thema is actually dismissed.
There must be no place for racism of any sort in this country and all offenders should be dealt with equally harshly, no matter who they are.