The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has decided to take Limpopo FF Plus leader Marcelle Maritz to the Equality Court for allegedly using the k-word in an incident captured on video.
Provincial SAHRC manager Victor Mavhidula said on Thursday that the use of the conduct, on a prima facie basis, amounted to hate speech and was deeply concerning.
He said that they urged politicians on numerous occasions to recognise and take responsibility for the power they wielded through their words.
“It is trite and settled law that in our democracy, no tolerance will and should be given to hurtful epithets such as the k-word.”
He told News24 there was a public outcry after the video emerged and that complaints were received from the DA, the EFF and numerous individuals.
The FF Plus previously said it was investigating the incident but Maritz, according to her party, denied the allegation.
A phone call to her went to voicemail on Thursday but her comment will be added if received.
She recently told Bosveld Review that her lawyers had advised her not to speak about the matter.
The FF Plus previously claimed the incident “reportedly took place” five years ago when Maritz was still a DA member.
DA MP Beyers Smit, however, said that was “a lie” and that the timestamp on the video indicated it was recorded “two years ago”.
Maritz resigned from the DA in 2015.
In the video, a person, purportedly Maritz, was captured in a jocular conversation in what appeared to be an office setting, with two other women, one filming the video on a cellphone.
To laughter, she described herself as a churchgoer. One of the other women asked if it was the Afrikaans Protestant Church (APK).
The women then responded: “Die kerk sonder k***s (The church without k***s).”
Provincial DA leaders opened a case of crimen injuria against her last week.
FF Plus MP Wouter Wessels said the party was informed about the DA’s plans to lay a charge against Maritz.
“The incident reportedly took place about five years ago when the member in question, Ms Marcelle Maritz, was still a DA councillor,” he said in a statement, which the DA has since denied.
“Ms Maritz denies having used the word and therefore, the leadership of the FF Plus will conduct an internal investigation into the matter to get to the truth.
“The FF Plus is strongly opposed to any form of racism from any side of society and will take strict action if needs be.”