'Racist' security flyer riles social media, company denies the allegation 'Our client base is diverse'
When Bianca Sibiya joined a neighbourhood WhatsApp group, she expected security and safety related messages, but she wasn't ready to be confronted with what she calls "racial profiling."
Sibiya took to Facebook to share and react to a flyer that she had first seen in her neighbourhood group.
The flyer aims to give people tips about things to look out for when identifying and describing suspected criminals. The brains behind the poster is a Johannesburg-based security company called Beagle Watch.
What got people riled up is that an image of a dark-skinned male was used to illustrate the features one should note when giving a description of a suspect.
Although most people expressed shock and even anger at the picture, there were some who saw nothing wrong with the flyer.
Responding to TimesLIVE questions via email, Beagle Watch customer relations manager Anne Wood said that the company "cannot be racist" because their "client base is as diverse as can be."
"Our corporate culture and values demand that our priority should always be the protection of our clients irrespective of race, religion or gender."
The intention, explained Wood, was "simply to assist the public in understanding characteristics that assist the police in the apprehension and successful prosecution of criminal cases."
"We regret that this illustration offended some South Africans because it was never the intention," added Wood.
Sibiya welcomes the conversation that her Facebook post initiated.
"It is important to call out companies that behave in a manner that is racially offensive."
Beagle Watch has since removed the image from its online platforms.