A case of crimen injuria has been opened against Democratic Alliance deputy provincial leader Mergan Chetty for allegedly referring to foreign nationals as “amakwerekwere”.
Chetty’s xenophobic slur came to light after a recorded phone call containing the rant leaked on the social media last weekend.
The voice note was shared by Teboho Molotsi on Facebook on Saturday morning, with the title “After what we’ve been through as a country with xenophobic violence, here is a prominent DA MP and KZN DA deputy leader making racist and xenophobic comments.”
The phone call is said to have lasted for 11 minutes and that Mergan Chetty was heard saying, “There is life after politics. We cannot become like f****g makwerekweres and fight over stupid things all our lives.”
Following the act, ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said it has laid a complaint at the Mountain Rise police station in Pietermaritzburg.
ANC spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said the charges stemmed from the telephone conversation Chetty had with his former colleague, councilor Lungisani Sikhakhane.
BuzzSouthAfrica learnt that Sikhahan is now an ANC member. He reportedly joined the ruling party’s boat just before the 2016 local government elections, but still remains Chetty’s friend.
The ANC said it’s unfortunate a senior and prominent citizen like Chetty was caught in a xenophobic row.
The party vowed to deal with all issues of oppression, including race, geographic segregation, religious, gender and economic oppression, especially those perpetrated by senior citizens.
DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal Zwakele Mncwango condemned Chetty for making the derogatory remark.
“It can’t be correct for anyone to use such derogatory terms, especially public figures, but we do understand that Mergan Chetty said they were joking about it.”
South Africa is yet to recover from the aftermath of previous xenophobic attacks, especially in KZN province.
In 2015, a deadly outbreak of xenophobia-related violence broke out in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
The violence claimed the lives of seven people while over 5,000 others were displaced in the wave of violence which took place between March and May 2015.
The trigger for the violent attacks was blamed in part on King Goodwill Zwelithini’s speech at a rally in Pongola, northern Kwazulu-Natal, in late March.
Zwelithini reported said: “We urge all foreigners to pack their bags and leave.” The monarch insisted at the time that foreigners in the country have been transforming the unique and dynamic nature of South Africa to something else.
The big question is: is Xenophobia still alive in South Africa?
If it is still alive in your area, do not hesitate to alert security agencies. Be the change you want to see.