#KessieNair: Kathrada Foundation speaks out on racist rant
Durban - As Kessie Nair appeared in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Thursday for allegedly calling president Cyril Ramaphosa the K-word, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation expressed its concerned at Nair's video that went viral on Wednesday.
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, the national spokesperson for the Hawks said Nair was arrested late on Wednesday following the video clip that contained derogatory and provocative utterances against the president of South Africa. He confirmed a case of crimen injuria and inciting public violence was opened.
The Kathrada Foundation’s executive director, Neeshan Balton, said, “We condemn this despicable utterance, which is an attack on the dignity of all South Africans, who are represented by the President of the Republic. Furthermore, this case is of particular offence to the Foundation. President Ramaphosa served as the first chairperson of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Board for his commitment to non-racialism. He served at the specific request of Ahmed Kathrada.
“Irrespective of the grievances that people may have about the country, using racist vitriol, hate speech, or dehumanising any person irrespective of his or her position, is unacceptable and cannot be allowed as a method to draw attention to issues,” Balton said.
“More disturbing, is that this is just one among many recent racist incidents in South Africa. It is deeply concerning that racists still feel comfortable demeaning others with hate speech publicly and blatantly without fear of reprisal. We reiterate that racism is not
only unacceptable, it is illegal,” he said.
“I don’t think that racists understand the type of social instability and tension that their racist views have the potential to unleash on a society that is still deeply scarred by apartheid. There is an urgent need for all sectors of society to not only ensure that racism is challenged, but that policies are developed to take immediate action against racists.”
Balton said the Nair family should be commended for their rapid condemnation of their relative’s racist rant. "Ordinary people should be applauded for calling out the racism on social media. We also commend the South African Human Rights Commission for their swift response. Furthermore, we welcome the quick action by Councillor Brandon Pillay in opening of a case of crimen injuria against Nair, so that the relevant prosecuting authorities can act.
Balton said that recent cases of racism should prompt some soul searching.
“The judiciary certainly has an important role to ensure that racists are penalised or jailed, and that racism is made expensive for racists. However, society needs to deliberate about what they would like to be seeing racists do as part of the rehabilitative process as well. Should racists simply issue an apology, or should they undergo anti-racism training as well? Should they be made to do community service as part of their sentence, or should they be made social pariahs for a long period of time?
"We also need to be addressing what proactive work needs to be done on a day to day basis to shift mindsets and change deeply entrenched racial views, as well as systemic racism," he said.