De Lille refers racist ranter to SAHRC

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has vowed to investigate the utterances by Matthew Theunissen who caused an uproar on social media. Photo: Foto24 / Gallo Images / Getty Images

CAPE TOWN – The mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille has vowed to take action against a local Facebook user whose racist slurs directed at the government caused an uproar on social media.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Matthew Theunissen posted a racist comment about the government in response to Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula’s announcement he would bar a number of sporting codes from international competition because they hadn't transformed sufficiently.

De Lille said on Tuesday that she condemned Theunissen’s “despicable racial slurs” and has referred the matter to the SA Rights Commission for further investigation.



She said the remarks were unacceptable and “there are laws and processes to ensure that racists are brought to book”.

Theunissen, who lives in Cape Town, made the comment on his Facebook page as he vented his frustration over the ban by Mbalula.

His comments provoked the ire of many South Africans.



“We are healing from the division and our painful past and we remain committed to fighting the scourge of racism and bringing about unity and inclusivity,” De Lille said.

De Lille emphasised that the City remained “committed to redressing the wrongs of the past and people like Matt Theunissen need to understand that we will not tolerate their racism”.

On Tuesday, South Africans responded to the incident on social media with the hashtag #MattTheunissen which the number one trending item with over 2,000 tweets. On Facebook, over 66,000 Facebook users were talking about the issue, also with the hashtag #MattTheunissen.

Later, it was reported that Theunissen’s CV (containing his telephone number, ID number and residential address) on his LinkedIn profile was widely distributed on Twitter. 

“Matt Theunissen has to understand that racism is hurtful and we live in a democracy where we are all equal and no one can discriminate, disrespect or infringe on anyone’s rights or dignity,” added De Lille.

She said the City, as part of the Inclusive City Campaign, would mobilise “the voices of the majority who are not racist to speak out and condemn all forms of racism and discrimination and to say: ‘Don’t let racists speak to for you’.”

African News Agency

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