Mashaba intends to challenge Guptas in court for alleged racial slurs
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says he intends challenging the Guptas in court for their alleged racial slurs against black South Africans.
In a statement issued in his personal capacity‚ Mashaba said on Sunday that he had written an open letter on June 11 to National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shaun Abrahams‚ in which he gave him 60 days to take “swift action” against the Guptas following revelations of their corrupt activities and alleged racist behaviour towards black South Africans.
“To date I have received no response from him or the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA]. To me‚ it is clear that Adv Abrahams does not regard the allegations against the Guptas as serious.
“I have therefore‚ taken the decision to approach our courts with the intention of seeking legal recourse against the Gupta brothers‚ Atul and Ajay‚ for their alleged racial slurs against black South Africans‚” Mashaba said.
He added that he had recently had the opportunity to engage with past and present employees of “Gupta TV” who had relayed to him numerous accounts in which the station’s bosses had allegedly uttered racial slurs against black employees‚ and black South Africans in general.
“Whilst these employees have requested‚ for now‚ that their identities remain protected from the media‚ they have indicated to me their willingness to come forward and relay their horrific accounts at the hands of the Guptas and their associates for the purpose of court action.
“They have also indicated the toxic work environment they experienced at the Midrand offices of Gupta TV‚” Mashaba said.
“This information is corroborated by journalist Rajesh Sundaram‚ a former editor at Gupta TV‚ whose account of discriminatory and unfair working conditions‚ mainly affecting young black employees as well as migrant Indian workers‚ is captured in his book ‘Indentured: Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV’.
“Mr Sundaram recounts the many demeaning references the Gupta brothers‚ Atul and Ajay‚ made of South Africans‚ especially as they related to our alleged laziness and corruptibility.
“Moreover‚ during the now infamous Gupta wedding held at Sun City it was well publicised in the media‚ at the time‚ that the Gupta’s and their associates treated the local staff with disdain and hurled racist insults at them‚” Mashaba added.
He said that a black South African‚ especially one that had endeavoured to excel through diligence and hard work‚ he could not in all good conscience “sit and watch as the Guptas would seek to demean our people”.
“South Africa’s tragic history of racism and discrimination‚ especially against black people‚ demands that we all stand up and take action in defence of our collective humanity.
“That is why‚ in 2015‚ when the racist Penny Sparrow referred to black Durban beach-goers as monkeys‚ I was the first to lay charges against her.
“I feel compelled to take a similar action again.”
Mashaba encouraged all past employees of “Gupta TV”‚ all South Africans including those employed at the Gupta wedding held at Sun City‚ who suffered from racism and discrimination‚ to share their personal accounts via: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Following these submissions‚ I will instruct lawyers to assist the complainants to draw up the relevant affidavits. Thereafter‚ I will approach the Equality Court to ensure justice is done.
“I intend to take on the Guptas to prove that‚ while they may have gotten away with insulting black people and remain unpunished due to their close proximity to former president Jacob Zuma‚ his son Duduzane and the ANC‚ I do not fear them.
“I will meet them with all determination and resolve necessary to restore the dignity of our black people‚” Masha asserted.