The manager of an irrigation company in the Northern Cape has come under fire for using the K-Word. It’s alleged the man in charge of VaalHarts Water Use Association, just outside Kimberley, uses the racial slur towards his subordinates on several occasions.

Employees say they have had enough of the abuse they experience at work. Workers allege that the manager went as far as referring to them as monkeys and baboons. They say this must come to an end.

“The k-word is not fine for us. He likes to harass us, abuse, you see and this word of monkeys, we are having monkeys in this place neh. He’d say to us there’s your brothers and your sisters. The other word is we are baboons.”

“We are having a problem of discrimination here because Mr Coetzee is using k-word to describe us. He also uses vulgar words when he instructs us to work and all those things.”

CEO of the Vaalharts Water Association, Niel van Eeden, says they are aware of the grievance and it’s now under investigation.

“We’ve received a grievance in the last week and we’ve lodged an internal investigation and we’re in the process of appointing external labour relations institution to handle it for us neutrally. And at this stage the investigation is ongoing.”

Spokesperson for the South African Human Rights Commission, Gushwell Brooks, says there are consequences for anyone using the k-word.

“We have laws in place that make it absolutely clear that the use of k-word is prohibited. We have courts that indicate that it is in fact unlawful to use the k-word. That’s obviously derogative on basis of race.”

Warrenton police have confirmed that a case of crimen injuria has been opened and there’s probe into the matter.

Meanwhile, workers union, Amcu, says it has written a letter of complaint to the CEO of the company on behalf of the employees, and is currently engaging with management on the matter.

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