FW de Klerk accepts apology for ‘kill whites’ tweet

FW de Klerk, former President of South Africa

The FW de Klerk Foundation on Thursday formally accepted the apology of a man who allegedly posted a racist tweet.

The foundation said spiritual leader Kemo Waters had apologised for the tweet.

In January last year, the foundation laid a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) about the Twitter post.

Waters allegedly tweeted on January 7, 2012: “The only way to end racism is to kill a material number of whites @hellenzille your indifferent and patrionizing stance in a double dare”.

Waters recently released an apology statement: “I… hereby tender my summary and unequivocal apology to the public, the Commission, the FW de Klerk Foundation.”

He undertook to refrain from “conducting myself in a manner associated with hate speech or racism in the form complained about”.

On Thursday, the FW de Klerk Foundation said that while the Bill of Rights provided for freedom of expression, it prohibited advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and incitement to cause harm.

“It is imperative that all South Africans should bear in mind the constitutional prohibition against hate speech when they are participating in the national debate.”

It was also important for the public to complain about language that incited hatred or violence.

The foundation thanked the SAHRC for its work on the matter and the way it was handled.

In a statement last week SAHRC spokesman Isaac Mangena said that during mediation the commission was satisfied that the comments could be interpreted as hate speech.

However, it felt that this needed to be seen in the context of Waters’s experiences and perceptions.

During the mediation, Waters said he had experienced racial prejudice himself since moving to the Western Cape.

The SAHRC also took into consideration that Waters already apologised publicly, on a radio show and on Twitter, for his comment before the commission received the complaint.

The commission advised him to release a formal written apology to all South Africans.

“The FW de Klerk Foundation accepted Mr Waters’ apology and a mediation agreement was signed between Mr Waters and the complainant in April 2013,” Mangena said. – Sapa