Avatar photo

By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Acting SA Human Rights CEO suspended for allegedly calling staff ‘black babies’

The South African Human Rights Commission said it does not condone racism in any form and is investigating the incident

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it is investigating an alleged racist incident in which its then acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) allegedly referred to senior managers at the organisation as “black babies.”

The SAHRC said it greatly regrets the racial slur, allegedly by Chantal Kisoon, hurled at staff employed at the human rights body

Watch the video of Chantal Kisoon calling staff “black babies”.

It is understood Kisoon allegedly made the remarks during a strategic planning session of the commission on 23 February. 

Staff members who were at the briefing are alleged to have leaked the video.  

No to racism

Speaking to The Citizen, acting Communications Coordinator Wisani Baloyi said the SAHRC does not condone racism in any form.

“We will leave no stone unturned in investigating the incident and dealing with the perpetrator should it be found, in an independent process, that she indeed used a racial slur and violated the dignity of her colleagues.”

“Following the allegation that the Acting CEO had referred to senior managers as “black babies”, the Commissioners have taken several steps to deal with the matter,” Baloyi said.

ALSO READ: Racism remains SA’s most stubborn problem, as SAHRC sees spike in complaints

Investigation and suspension

Baloyi added commissioners have also consulted with both the senior managers and the Acting CEO, to understand what exactly happened.

He said Commissioners initiated an immediate investigation into the incident, to be conducted by an independent person who will report back to the officials with the findings and recommendations.

“The Commissioners have resolved to place the Acting CEO Ms Chantal Kisoon on precautionary suspension in terms of the rules of the Commission, pending the investigation.”  

New acting CEO

“The Commissioners also appointed Ms. Lorinda Lynn, the acting CFO, to act as CEO. Somebody else will be appointed to act as Chief Financial Officer,” Baloyi said.

Baloyi said the SAHRC will continue to exercise its mandate of protecting, promoting and monitoring human rights without fear, favour or prejudice, and serving the public and their interest to the best of its ability. 

He said the commission would not elaborate further on the matter until the investigations are completed.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Family’s Christmas marred by alleged racist attack in Free State resort

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits