President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for harsh consequences for racists amid tensions in the Free State following an alleged racist incident.
In a video that has been widely circulated on social media, two black teenage boys are seen being strangled and assaulted by white male adults at the Maselspoort Resort outside Bloemfontein on Christmas Day.
The incident has sparked widespread anger. A common assault case has since been opened at the local police station despite the owner of the resort confirming that the suspects are still residing at the resort.
The President’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, says: “It is deplorable that adults dealing with teenagers resort to violence with such disturbing ease, hurting people physically and offending provisions in our Bill of Rights around security of the person, including the right to dignity and being free of violence. Under the rule of law, we must let investigations take their course but under the rule of law, we can and must also declare that racism has no place in our society and racists have no place to hide. We must defend our continuing national mission of ridding our society of the divisions and the hurts of our past.”
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has since reacted to news of the incident with “utter disgust”.
Sisulu says she supports all steps taken so far by the Free State government which has instructed Tourism MEC Makalo Mohale to deal with the matter with the urgency it deserves.
She says reports of racism at tourist facilities negatively impact the sector which is recovering well after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Free State chanted and protested on the poolside at the Maselspoort Resort, condemning the alleged racist attack.
Free State EFF chairperson, Mapheule Liphoko, says they will do everything in their power to root out acts of racial discrimination in the province:
Civic movement, the Mangaung Concerned Citizens, demand answers from resort management as to why the alleged attackers believed the pool was reserved for white people only.
Maselspoort Resort manager Nick Mitchell says they do not have a racial segregation policy at their facility.
Mitchell explains in the video below:
-Additional reporting by Refiloe Mekoa & Kamogelo Seekoei