An anti-semetism row is brewing in Johannesburg, as ANC MEC for Human Settlements Lebogang Maile has been accused of using “irresponsible language” while discussing Mayor Herman Mashaba’s plans to renovate the inner-city. He’s now been reported to the Integrity Commissioner for hate speech.
Lebogang Maile nailed for offensive post
The hate speech case, brought forward by DA Gauteng Chief Whip Mike Moriarty, erupted last week on social media. A Tweet prasing Mashaba’s work was met by Maile’s sheer contempt. He questioned the mayor’s true intentions for property development, before making a nasty slur against the Jewish community.
His actually giving them to Jews ask him who are the new owners of these buildings? I just want to see something
— Lebogang Maile (@LebogangMaile1) September 20, 2019
ANC MEC refuses to back down
Following a major backlash to this Tweet, Maile then stepped up to defend his actions. He reasoned that his point of view was influenced by the state of the economy, and denied saying anything “racist”:
“I’m not racist. If the truth is uncomfortable to you don’t be simplistic. Engage the real issues… our economy remains un-transformed and concentrated in the hands few patriots who are mostly white. Government must deliberately use procurement and its assets to empower our people.”
Lebogang Maile on hate speech accusations
Lebogang Maile – is it hate speech?
However, both his original sentiments and follow-up explaination were dismissed by Moriarty. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out why such a statement could be seen as hate speech and the DA stalwart labelled his outburst as a “horrifying utterance”.
Speaking through an official communication issued on Tuesday, Moriarty suggested that an apology was in order and that the Tweet had to be deleted. It’s suggested that the post may incite violence against the Jewish community of Gauteng – something that the DA are keen to avoid:
“The MEC refused to apologise for his utterances claiming that he did nothing wrong and that he stated a fact. The Jewish Community like any other citizens of this country are allowed to bid for any tender in the City of Johannesburg. The Integrity Commission in GPL must investigate Maile’s hate speech and make findings.”
“These horrifying utterances constitute hate speech. Maile has violated his oath of office through his discriminatory speech, which serves to inspire others to commit violence against Jews. Should he be found guilty, Maile must apologise to the Jewish Community, retract his Tweet and face the consequences of his actions.”