City of Ekurhuleni fires employee over racist 'baboon' email


Ekurhuleni road sign.

JOHANNESBURG – The City of Ekurhuleni has summarily dismissed an employee for making a racist remark in an email sent to colleagues.

The city manager learned on Monday that an employee wrote: “Ek is moeg met hierdie bobbejane hier, hulle dink ek sal bedank soos Meneer ... en ek sal nie (I am tired of these baboons here, they think I will resign like Mr … and I won’t).”

Speaking in council on Thursday, executive mayor Mzwandile Masina said: “Racism will not be tolerated in the City of Ekurhuleni. We have a dark past of racial injustices and no one will undermine efforts to build a non-racist, non-sexist and democratic society”.

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He said the metro wanted to make it clear that it had “zero tolerance” for racism and that it would deal harshly with any instance that was brought to its attention.

“The city views racist conduct as constituting exceptional circumstances, as envisaged in law, and as such the employer can dispense with pre-dismissal procedures,” said the mayor.

He said this commitment by the metro should be implemented in respect of every aspect of the scourge of racism, whether by employees or by members of the community who used its services.

“The City prides itself on being a champion of human rights and upholds the rights of every individual to human dignity and respect. No employee of the City shall escape the repercussions of behaving in a manner that does not accord with the values espoused by the City or undermining constitutional foundations of democracy,” warned Masina.

He urged employees and community members to report and bring evidence of racist conduct so that Ekurhuleni can “squash racism whenever it raises its ugly head”.