The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling in favour of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) against an employee who called his team leader a ‘kaffir’.
The Foundation commended the Court on upholding one of core values of the Constitution, that being the ideal of a non-racial South Africa.
The Court found that the use of the term was “very egregious, derogatory and humiliating” and amounted to hate speech. This would require fair but firm action, the Court said, to contribute to the eradication of racism.
Neeshan Balton, Executive Director of the Foundation, said that the ruling was in line with the Foundation’s call to “make racism expensive for racists”.
“The Constitutional Court sets a precedent and sends a clear message that racism in all sectors, especially the workplace, will not be tolerated. Wherever it manifests itself, it needs to be dealt with severely,” Balton said.
He echoed the sentiments expressed by Rivonia Trialist Ahmed Kathrada who earlier this year, referring to the spate of recent racial incidents, said that one cannot be shocked that the word ‘kaffir’ is still used. “If these incidents tell us anything, it’s that the k-word is very much a part of the socialisation of some individuals and may well be used without blinking an eyelid in some South African homes…We cannot take it for granted that 22 years of democracy would have entrenched anti-racism amongst all South Africans,” Kathrada stated.