Sandile Memela
Sandile Memela

An apology to my fellow countrymen

To: Dr Piet Mulder
The Freedom Front Plus
The FW de Klerk Foundation
And everyone who was offended

My recent article on the Mail & Guardian’s Thought Leader website on Tuesday, March 4 2014 has hurt, embarrassed and insulted fellow countrymen.

In the article, I questioned whether Oscar Pistorius would be on trial if he had shot and murdered a black man. Also, the article came across as justifying murderous violence and blaming criminal behaviour on economic conditions and a history of dispossession.

This articulation was in the belief that I was exercising my right to freedom of expression to have my opinion and contribute to national discourse and debate.

But my remarks seem to have portrayed fellow South Africans in a negative light. In fact, they have been found to be provocative and stirring up racial hatred. There is no justification for stirring up racial hatred or condoning violent behaviour.

I do solemnly swear that I respect, promote and uphold the sacred principles that are in our Constitution. South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. It is a democracy that is based on non-racialism, non-sexism and, above all, social justice and equality.

Our Constitution allows for freedom of expression in section 16 of the Bill of Rights. But this right does not allow for promotion of hatred based on race or ethnicity.

Thus I wish to apologise to Dr Piet Mulder, the Freedom Front Plus, the FW de Klerk Foundation and everyone who was offended, hurt, harmed, embarrassed or insulted by the article.

I have never and do not advocate or promote violence for any reason against any person, irrespective of their race, colour or creed.

Instead, I will be loyal to the principles, values and ideals enshrined in our Constitution. In fact, as a patriotic citizen and proud and caring civil servant, I will lead my life and exercise my right to freedom of expression in an objective, balanced and truthful manner that does not cause injury to anyone.

Whatever I write shall be for the general good of our society to promote truth, justice, equality and democracy.

This commitment to upholding, protecting and promoting the principle in our Constitution that contributes to nation-building and social cohesion I do promise as it comes from my heart and conscience.

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