South Africa MP suspended over racist remarks

A South African lawmaker, Renaldo Gouws, has been suspended by the Democratic Alliance (DA) after old clips of him using violent racist language against black people resurfaced online. Initially, Gouws denied the authenticity of the videos, suggesting they were doctored. However, the DA confirmed the videos were genuine in a statement on Thursday.

In the videos, Gouws, recently sworn into parliament, repeatedly uses local slurs and the n-word, calling for violence against black people. This controversy arises as President Cyril Ramaphosa negotiates a new coalition government with the DA.

President Ramaphosa, who began his second term on Wednesday, is currently working on ministerial post distribution between his African National Congress (ANC), the DA, and three smaller parties. This follows the ANC’s failure to secure a majority in last month’s election, a first since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The DA, South Africa’s second-largest party, has faced accusations of protecting white-minority interests, which it denies. The party has stated that Gouws will face disciplinary charges.

Another resurfaced clip shows Gouws making racially charged remarks about “reverse apartheid” and disparaging Africa. Over 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for his removal as an MP. Despite his apology on X, where he claimed his past remarks were immature and distorted, his position remains under scrutiny.

DA leader John Steenhuisen previously defended Gouws, but the latest video has drawn strong condemnation, including from senior DA official Helen Zille, who called the language “unjustifiable and unacceptable.”

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) plans legal action against Gouws for hate speech. The SAHRC emphasized the gravity of his actions given his parliamentary position.

The coalition between the ANC and DA, forming a Government of National Unity, has faced criticism from various quarters, including Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and former President Jacob Zuma. Despite political opposition, South Africa’s business community has largely welcomed the coalition, hoping it will foster economic stability.

In his inauguration speech, President Ramaphosa pledged to drive economic growth, create jobs, and reduce inequality in South Africa.

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