Parking bay dispute turns racial

18 July 2017 - 14:42 By Jeff Wicks
A Pinetown woman is to approach the SAHRC after a dispute over a parking bay turned racial.
A Pinetown woman is to approach the SAHRC after a dispute over a parking bay turned racial.
Image: iStock

A Pinetown woman is to approach the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after a dispute over a parking bay turned racial at the weekend.

Nonhle Cele‚ who lives at Garden Mews in Pinetown‚ found a tersely worded note slipped into the window of her car on Monday morning. The note‚ with the underlined heading “Dear Black People”‚ was signed by the building’s caretaker‚ identified as Joe Nel.

The note emphasises that residents may only use their own parking bays and not an area demarcated for visitors. But Cele was more concerned about the note inferring that only black people parked badly.

“In the morning when I was going to work I opened my work car and I found a note on the driver’s seat. It said ‘dear black people’ at the top and I was so shocked‚” Cele said. “It was basically telling me not to park in visitors’ parking. I would have appreciated him addressing me in a professional manner and there was no need for him to make this about race‚” she said.

She said she had been to the police station where officers had advised her to approach the SAHRC.

“I want the body corporate to take action against this man. He is a racist and he had no right to address me like that.”

She said that the only reason she had parked her car in the visitors’ bay was because another resident had obstructed her own parking space.

The caretaker of the building‚ who identified himself as Joe Nel‚ denied that he had penned the letter.

“To be honest with you I can’t even write because I am so old and I shake so much. This is a bullshit story. I never wrote any letter… I am not a racist and someone is doing this to make me look bad‚” he said.

Nel added that he suspected that another resident in the block had written the letter and ostensibly framed him.

“Everything goes through the chairman and I don’t know where the story comes out and I am not very happy about it.”

Garden Mews body corporate chair Peter Strachan confirmed that while the caretaker was in the employ of the block he did not speak on their behalf.

“He does look after the place but he doesn’t represent our block. He must take responsibility for his own actions. That letter does not have my name on it‚” he said.

Strachan said that parking was a bugbear at the block and that it was in short supply.

“I had written a letter to all residents telling them about the designated parking bays.”