Indian-origin ex-councillor in S Africa arrested for racially abusing president
Johannesburg, Sep. 20 (PTI): A former Indian-origin city councillor in South Africa has been arrested for allegedly making derogatory racist comments against President Cyril Ramaphosa in a video posted on Facebook.
In the viral video, former Durban councillor Kessie Nair, who was earlier sentenced to six years in prison for fraud in 2005, called Ramaphosa a “kaffir” — a derogatory term used against black people during the racist apartheid era.
In the video, Nair said that he is prepared to take a bullet or go to prison for the rest of his life.
“I… do hereby call for that kaffir state president Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, yes I mean the kaffir 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 nearly five minute-long rant.
“I’m ready to go to jail for the rest of my life or take a bullet, I just want to say that the truth will hurt.”
In 2005, Nair was sentenced to six years in prison for fraud. He said that it took 13 years of introspection to release the video, News24 reported.
“Nobody wakes up one morning and makes a statement and a video like that on social media,” Nair had told News24.
He was arrested on Wedenesday in Durban and was charged with incitement of public violence and crimen injuria or injuring a person’s dignity.
Nair the nephew of late struggle stalwart Billy Nair has received widespread condemnation from various quarters including the provincial ANC community and religious organisations as well as the presidency.
His family has distanced themselves from his utterances. They issued a statement urging South Africans to forgive him and promising to do their best to “make amends”.
“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 ” said his brother Krishnan Nair.
Krishnan added that his brother suffered from a chronic illness and “needs immediate medical care and attention.”
Presidential spokeswoman Khusela Diko said that the rant did not deserve attention and that Nair needed support from friends and family.