Posted on June 25, 2024

South Africa’s Democratic Alliance Suspends MP for Racist Comments

Rachel Savage, The Guardian, June 20, 2024

A South African MP has been suspended by the Democratic Alliance (DA) for racist comments, less than a week after the white-led party formed a coalition government with the African National Congress.

A clip of Renaldo Gouws saying “Kill all the kaffirs” – a racial slur for black people – and then repeating the phrase using a swear word and the N-word, has gone viral online.

“Black people are discriminating against white people and the black people are singing about killing white people,” Gouws, a YouTuber who was sworn into parliament on Friday, said in the video, referring to Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters and previously ANC youth leader, singing the anti-apartheid song Shoot The Boer.

“So in essence this is a new apartheid and I’m the sufferer of that,” Gouws said in the clip, which appears to be from 2010.

A party statement said: “The DA has established that the video, in which Renaldo Gouws uses execrable language, is in fact genuine and not a fake as initially suspected.”

Gouws, a former DA councillor, has been suspended “with immediate effect while he faces disciplinary charges”, it said.

The ANC, which lost its parliamentary majority in elections last month, has faced criticism for going into coalition with the DA, the second largest party. Many South Africans believe the DA favours the interests of South Africa’s white minority, an accusation it denies.

On Monday, Gouws apologised “unreservedly” for a different video clip, from 2008, in which he said: “The white people in this country is going through a reverse apartheid.”

“I refute any claims of racism or being a racist. I can, however, see how my message was distorted in the way it was delivered by me and I take full responsibility for the actions of my younger and immature self,” he said in the post on X, the last time he posted on the social media platform.

The DA leader, John Steenhuisen, told local media on Wednesday: “The remarks need to be seen in their context. He’s apologised for them. It was 16 years ago.” It was not clear if Steenhuisen had seen the “kill all the kaffirs” clip at the time.

Other viral video clips include Gouws using the homophobic slur “fag”. In a 2024 livestream of the president, Cyril Ramaphosa’s, state of the nation address, that is still on his YouTube channel, Gouws mocks a traditional praise singer, using a string of babble to imitate her Siswati language.