Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba will lay a complaint at the Human Rights Commission (HRC) against the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu).
This after some members of the labour federation allegedly hurled racial slurs at Michael Sun, the member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for public safety, during last Wednesday’s march against state capture and corruption in Johannesburg.
The MMC received Cosatu’s memorandum of demands on the Mashaba’s behalf‚ as he needed to be present in a council meeting. Upon arriving at the march, one of the Cosatu leaders present allegedly announced that Mashaba had sent a “fong kong” to receive the memorandum.
“He proceeded to state that at least he [Sun] knew ‘karate’ and later referred to him as ‘Mr Lee from Fong Kong’,” Mashaba said in a statement on Monday.
Mashaba condemned the comments directed at Sun, and demanded an apology from Cosatu, but said the union federation had refused to apologise.
“We take Cosatu’s comments very seriously‚ and we will defend all of our peoples’ rights to human dignity and equality. I will also be laying an official complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission later today‚” Mashaba said.
Apart from the HRC complaint, Mashaba said the City would also take legal advice on possible legal action, as the MMC was subjected to the comments in his official capacity.
“Michael is a passionate and loyal South African citizen of Chinese descent. He has been a dedicated and hardworking councillor in the City of Johannesburg for the past 12 years. He is also an admitted attorney of the High Court of SA‚ with close to two decades’ experience.
“Given Cosatu’s refusal to retract their distasteful racism and to apologise to Michael‚ I am left with no option but to apologise to the Chinese community on their behalf. While the racial slurs were directed at Michael‚ their words were a slap in the face of every person of Chinese ancestry‚” Mashaba said.