Sun, 16 Dec 2018
18
Johannesburg

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has taken the gloves off for Kessie Nair, saying that his racist outburst against President Cyril Ramaphosa is "unacceptable".

Executive director Neeshan Balton said Ramaphosa had been the first chairperson of the Kathrada Foundation.

"Irrespective of the grievances people have with the country, using racist vitriol, hate speech, or dehumanising any person irrespective of his or her position is unacceptable and cannot be allowed as a method to draw attention to issues."

Balton said that it was disturbing that Nair's rant was part of a growing number of racist South Africans who have been exposed through social media.

"It is deeply concerning that racists feel comfortable demeaning others publicly and blatantly, without any fear of reprisal. We reiterate that racism is not only unacceptable, but illegal."

ALSO READ: Former Durban councillor Kessie Nair arrested after calling Ramaphosa the k-word

He said that racists did not understand the social instability they were inciting.

"I don't think that racists understand the type of social instability and tension that their racist views have the potential to unleash.

"It takes one racist incident to spark a situation that can become uncontainable and can wreak havoc on a society that is still deeply scarred by apartheid."

Balton said there was an urgent need for all sectors of society, especially family units, to not only ensure racism is constantly challenged, "but that policies are developed to take immediate action against racists".

Balton also commended the Nair family for distancing themselves from his racist views.

"Ordinary people should be commended for calling out racism on social media."

Mental health

He also commended the SA Human Rights Commission for undertaking an investigation into Nair, and former eThekwini councillor Brandon Pillay for opening a criminal case.

Balton said that, while he was aware of issues surrounding Nair's mental health, it was an issue that the courts would weigh up.

"It is the role of professionals in the court to determine if mental health had an impact on his actions."

Nair's family on Wednesday said Kessie was physically and mentally unwell.

"As a family we distance ourselves from such utterances and statements," a statement on behalf of the family said.

"We have a history of being in the trenches fighting apartheid and being involved in the struggle for the liberation of this country from the shackles of the Nationalist Government.

"His health took a turn for the worst a few years ago. He suffers a serious chronic illness. The visuals he posted of himself shows he lacks the intelligence and understating of what he is saying."

They said his previous incarceration had an impact on his personality, and he needed immediate medical care.

"Kessie's statements are irrational and deserves to be condemned. We also urge the authorities to help ensure he gets the proper medical help.

"We urge the South African community to forgive him and we will do our best to make amends."

Nair was arrested at his home on charges of crimen injuria and incitement of public violence on Wednesday, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

ALSO READ: Word 'boer' not racist or racially offensive, ConCourt rules

In a widely-circulated video, Nair announced that he was prepared to take a bullet or go to prison for the rest of his life.

"I... do hereby call for that k****r state president Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, yes I mean the k****r state president Cyril Ramaphosa, to be charged for frauding [sic] this nation, for oppressing this nation, for high treason, for failing and he's the source to all crime violence poor healthcare, poverty that prevails in a so-called true democracy," he said in the video, which is almost five minutes long.

He had said it had taken 13 years of introspection to release the video.

News24 previously reported that Nair was sentenced to six years in prison for fraud in 2005.

RELATED - WATCH: Former councillor and ex-con Kessie Nair used k-word to 'get attention'

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