Welkom mayor suspended over ‘boesman’ slur in speech to troops
Welkom mayor Nkosinjani Speelman has been suspended for using a racially offensive word while addressing soldiers on the enforcing of lockdown rules in the mining town.
In a statement, the ANC in the Free State said Speelman's comments were "racist and regrettable".
The party said it had decided to "temporarily suspend" Speelman as a member of the party and as a public representative.
Earlier, Speelman had apologised for making the slur.
“I want to apologise with the statement I made yesterday. It was not undermining you, it was just out of mistake. So I want to apologise to everybody in Bronville - particularly the coloured people,” he said in a video apology.
The apology comes after a video of him addressing soldiers on Monday regarding the enforcing of lockdown rules, particularly on the community of Bronville, was published.
His "boesman" comment - a derogatory term used to describe coloured people - was met with outrage.
“In Bronville, you know some of the boesmans, they take some chances - don’t hesitate. I talked to them yesterday, but when you close them [down], they get out and drink again,” he said.
Speelman added that the soldiers must “skop and donder” if necessary and that he would support them.
Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie said Speelman’s comments lacked respect for coloured people.
“I’m not going to laugh like all those gatkruipers [sycophants] listening to you calling people drunkards. You are drunk on power,” McKenzie warned Speelman.
“I will make sure that you get reported to the Humans Rights Commission. I will fund a lawsuit against you by the people from Bronville. We will write to the ANC to discipline you. You guys have no respect for coloured people. Your nonsense stops today.”
The human rights commissioner in the province, Thabang Kheswa, was not immediately reachable for comment.