Durban racehorse trainer Frank Robinson has been suspended pending a National Horseracing Authority (NHA) inquiry into alleged racist statements he made on social media during recent Diwali celebrations.
Robinson, seemingly upset by Diwali fireworks, allegedly referred to Indians as “a piece of sh*t race” and “stupid and childish” on social media last week.
“Mr Robinson has been suspended with immediate effect from all horse racing related activities, and an undefended Board of Inquiry has been established to probe his alleged racist remarks,” said the NHA in a statement.
The inquiry was set to convene on Friday last week, but has been moved to Thursday on request by Robinson who has asked for legal representation at the hearing. The inquiry will consider if there has been a breach of the rules of racing.
Vee Moodley, chief executive officer (CEO) of NHA, said: “The Authority is extremely disappointed that one of its participants is alleged to have shared such views on a public platform. Our sport is very inclusive of all nationalities and thus a behaviour that wants to remind us of the past injustice based on colour or creed will not be tolerated. As a sport, and the Authority, we respect all cultures and traditions in South Africa, therefore we do not agree with the views expressed by Robinson.”
“The National Horseracing Authority, as the industry’s regulator, does not discriminate against any person. Our rules dictate that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity that is enshrined in our country’s constitution. The beauty of our sport is that its participants include people from all racial groups, religions and cultures, from royalty and captains of industry to the ordinary man in the street. Our rules and our constitution ensure that the playing fields are equal for all of the stakeholders and interested parties,” added Arnold Hyde, racing control executive of the NHA.
Robinson’s alleged remarks have sparked calls for a boycott of racing in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), amid allegations of a lack of transformation in the sport.
African Democratic Change (ADEC) president, Visvin Reddy has not only called for Robinson to be permanently removed from the sport, but has also described NHA and Golden Circle, organisers of horse racing in KwaZulu-Natal, as inherently racist and not transformed.
“There is blacks, Indians included, they put on token faces, who do not have guts and courage to make radical changes in the horse racing industry. Gold Circle and NHA executives do not represent the demographics of the country nor the role players of the racing industry, of whom the vast majority are punters and who support the industry,” Reddy said in a video posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday.