ANC lets mayor who called coloured people 'boesmans' off the hook

Nomvula Mokonyane heads the ANC national disciplinary appeals committee.
Nomvula Mokonyane heads the ANC national disciplinary appeals committee.
Image: GCIS

An ANC mayor who called coloured people “boesmans” has been let off the hook.

The party's national disciplinary appeals committee — chaired by Nomvula Mokonyane — has eased a sentence imposed on Nkosinjani Speelman, a mayor in the Free State, for using derogatory the language.

The ANC's provincial disciplinary committee had slapped him with an 18-month ban from all party activities, after Speelman called coloured people in Matjhabeng “boesmans” who should be subjected to “skop and donner”.

He had made these remarks while addressing members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The mayor, noted Mokonyane, admitted to having used the term “boesmans” to a group of coloured young people had encountered during the lockdown. They were drinking alcohol next to a tavern, while Matjhabeng was welcoming the soldiers.

But because he had shown remorse and apologised, Mokonyane said the provincial disciplinary committee had been too harsh in imposing the 18-month suspension — particularly because Speelman had pleaded guilty without any pressure to do so.

The national appeals committee therefore reduced the mayor's suspension to six months — but this has itself been suspended for three years, and will only kick in should the mayor commit a similar offence during that period.

The only penalty was losing a third of his salary for three months.

“The appellant’s membership is suspended for six months, which is suspended for three years on condition that the appellant does not commit a similar offence,” wrote Mokonyane in the verdict.

“The appellant should forfeit one third of his salary for three months to an NGO in Bronville that deals with social justice, or any cause that impacts positively on the lives of the local residents.

“The appellant should in his capacity as executive mayor be the face of nonracialism in the area, including forming part of any programmes of the Free State ANC minority groups for a period of 12 months and should issue a public apology in all media platforms in the area of Matjhabeng.”

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