The governing African National Congress said it would on Monday lay charges against Afrikaans musician Steve Hofmeyr for his “racist and inhumane” rants on social media directed at ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela and Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile Van Damme.
The ANC said in a statement: “Hofmeyr issued death threats against South Africa’s Ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane and DA MP Phumzile Van Damme. The ANC urges South Africans to isolate people that continue to promote racism in our country and remains resolute in its campaign of building a non-racial, democratic and prosperous society.
“The ANC holds no brief to sympathise with racists, and will not hesitate to report their conduct to authorities regardless of their public standing. Laying charges of crimen injuria against Steve Hofmeyr will send a strong message that racists have no place in our democratic society.”
The party had initially planned to open the case in Cape Town last week but changed its plans and decided to lay the charges in Johannesburg instead.
Hofmeyr is known for his extremist and right-wing comments on social media and has in recent times been rejected by sponsors and concert organisers who cancelled his performances or withdrew sponsorship and endorsements.
In a week of racial tensions on social media, Hofmeyr took to Twitter on Wednesday, telling Mandela and Van Damme that “you will jump when I say so and you will ask how high.. And when you come to take our lives and land, you will die. Our contract is that simple, and don’t you forget.”
Mandela had days before tweeted to “apartheid apologists” and “land thieves,” warning them that black people were going to seize land in South Africa.
She took on those who disagreed with her and was supported by the radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters.
International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor subsequently put her foot down, telling Mandela that she was a diplomat and was expected to conduct herself as such and adhere to social media policy for the public sector.
Meanwhile, in Cape Town, Van Damme punched a white man, accusing him of being racist towards her at the V&A Waterfront. After visiting the popular venue frequented by tourists, Van Damme tweeted that she had experienced racism and punched one of the offenders in the face in self-defence. V&A Waterfront said it was investigating the incident which was recorded in a video clip.
In a seemingly sarcastic new tweet on Monday, Hofmeyr on Monday said he had “reversed” his original post.
“I’d like to reverse my tweet for the sake of transformation and unity: ‘Dear public servants. I serve you and when you say jump I shall ask how high. And when you come to take my land and kill my family I shall give you free access to my home. I promise.'”
The ANC is due to lay its crimen injuria charges at 1pm at the Johannesburg police station in the central business district.
– African News Agency