Concourt sends clear message to racists in the workplace

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FILE image of the South African flag hanging inside the Constitutional Court. Picture: Flickr.com / arboresce

FILE image of the South African flag hanging inside the Constitutional Court. Picture: Flickr.com / arboresce

WEB_PHOTO_Constitutional_Court_flag_221013

FILE image of the South African flag hanging inside the Constitutional Court. Picture: Flickr.com / arboresce

FILE image of the South African flag hanging inside the Constitutional Court. Picture: Flickr.com / arboresce

JOHANNESBURG - Racism in the workplace can cost you your job.

On Tuesday, South Africa’s highest court overturned a Labour Court ruling, ordering the South African Revenue Service (Sars) to reinstate a racist employee, who twice used the K-word.

READ: Sars wins racism case

Delivering a unanimous ruling, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questioned why blatant racism continues to be part of life in South Africa – two decades into democracy.

He said the K-word amounted to hate speech and the worst kind of verbal abuse.

Jacobus Kruger was hauled before a disciplinary hearing, and pleaded guilty in 2007.

He claimed stress was to blame for his racist outburst.

Kruger was given a final written warning and suspended without pay for 10 days.

Sars commissioner at the time, Pravin Gordhan, reversed that punishment and fired him.

Kruger challenged this at the CMMA. He won and was reinstated.

Sars then took up the matter at the Labour Court, saying it cannot retain an employee, in whom it's lost faith.

Mogoeng dismissed Kruger's arguments that he's a pastor and has black friends.

* For the full story, watch the video report by Karyn Maughan in the gallery above.