Trade union Solidarity today laid a formal charge against the Head of Basic Police Development, Major-General Sandra Malebe-Thema, with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Cape Town. This comes after she had allegedly made herself guilty of racist and offensive remarks aimed at several training staff members during a function held at the South African Police Service (SAPS’s) Training Academy in Oudtshoorn.
Solidarity has received 22 affidavits from parties involved in the incident confirming Malebe-Themas’s humiliating and racist remarks. “Apart from the inappropriate remarks passed about the clothing and weight of the selected group of staff members, her racist remarks are selective and unacceptable,” Anton van der Bijl, the head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, said.
“According to information we have received, Malebe-Thema left the SAPS under dubious circumstances. At the time, she held the rank of Brigadier. Since 1 March 2016, Malebe-Thema has been reappointed in the rank of Major-General. We are currently looking into the reasons why she left the service at that time,” Van der Bijl explained.
According to Van der Bijl, Malebe-Thema stated, among other things, at the meeting that there are too many white members of staff who are holding positions in training, and that so-called discrimination against black students would be stopped. She allegedly also made the point that white members of staff in certain divisions have been enriching themselves unlawfully for quite some time. “She pertinently stated that white instructors were racists who are dealing with the students under their command in an unlawful manner,” Van der Bijl said.
In the charge Solidarity requests that the SAPS hold a disciplinary enquiry against Malebe-Thema, thereby taking her to task over her racist statements. She also has to pay fair compensation to all staff members who have been insulted and reviled by her. The trade union is also requesting a public apology offered by Malebe-Thema to those members of staff affected. Lastly, Solidarity insists that the Major-General attend a human rights sensitising programme on race relations in South Africa within one month of the date of the finding.
By Wilmarie Brits