Racism complaints by blacks are on the rise, with Gauteng the worst

10 December 2018 - 15:23 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The South African Human Rights Commission dealt with 505 complaints of racism in the past year, up 82% on the previous year.
The South African Human Rights Commission dealt with 505 complaints of racism in the past year, up 82% on the previous year.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Most of the  complaints received by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over the past year were race-related.

According to a trends analysis report launched by the commission in Johannesburg on Monday, most complaints it received during the 2016/2017 financial year were related to:

  • equality;
  • health care, food, water and sanitation;
  • social security, and arrested, detained and accused persons;
  • labour relations; and
  • just administrative action.

Speaking about equality-related rights violations, the commission's Alexandra Fitzgerald said the majority of complaints were related to allegations of racial discrimination against black South Africans.

Gauteng, according to the commission, had the most equality-related complaints, with 38% of recorded cases coming from the province - followed by the Western Cape at 15% and KwaZulu-Natal with 14%. 

"Race-based discrimination presents the greatest challenge to the work of the commission," said Fitzgerald.

The SAHRC said most race-based complaints it litigated included the use of the k-word as well as other derogatory terms such as "baboon" and "monkey".

Racism is a serious violation of the rights to equality and dignity and is unacceptable within our constitutional democracy.
Alexandra Fitzgerald

One of the cases was against estate agent Vicky Momberg, who was caught on camera hurling the k-word at black police officers and 10111 operators after she was the victim of a smash-and-grab robbery. She used the k-word more than 48 times. The clip went viral and Momberg was arrested.

She was ordered to pay R100,000 to Const Clement Mkhondo, who was the complainant in the matter. The Randburg Magistrate’s Court also ordered her to make an "unconditional" written apology to Mkhondo‚ to be published on her social media platforms and on the SAHRC website.

"The commission is happy with the high-profile complaints it has managed to resolve because we think that the high-profile nature of those complaints sends a strong message that racism is a serious violation of the rights to equality and dignity, and is unacceptable within our constitutional democracy," said Fitzgerald.

The SAHRC said it had seen an increase in inequality complaints related to disability. The report also noted that the number of complaints related to economic and social rights - which include health care, food, water and social security - increased in the 2016/2017 financial year.

"We are not surprised to see this increase, given the endemic poverty. We still see inadequate access to basic services," said Fitzgerald.


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