The Commission has reminded South Africans that referring to a black person as a monkey has a dehumanising history.
The South African Human Rights Commission has added its voice to those condemning radio host Sasha Martinengo for calling leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema a monkey on-air.
Martinengo made the remark on his breakfast show on Hot 91.9 FM on Tuesday, 2 October 2018, and was later fired.
“The Commission is particularly concerned as Martinengo, at the time of the utterance, did so during a radio breakfast show, where he is expected to use his massive platform in the promotion of the respect of equality and dignity”, said spokesperson Gushwell Brooks.
The SAHRC further commended the radio station for taking swift action.
“The Commission commends the radio station concerned, Hot 91.9 FM, for taking immediate action and dismissing Martinengo”
Martinengo, however, stands by his remarks.
“I’m sorry if I offended anyone‚ but I stand by what I said. Anyone‚ irrespective of their race‚ colour‚ creed ‚ religion‚ gender who disrespects a woman is a monkey’, he said on Twitter.
The EFF has since opened a case of crimen injuria against the former presenter, which the Commission encourages.
“Our courts must deal harshly with those who continue to undermine the humanity and dignity of black people. Until racism, particularly openly expressed, is considered a criminal offense, it will not stop. White people need to know that each time they use the k-word or call black people monkeys, they can end up in jail”, said EFF National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.