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‘Racist’ Facebook ranter to do sports community service

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A man who vented on Facebook after the announcement that sport teams that failed to transform were banned from bidding for or hosting major events, will now do community service to come to grips with challenges in disadvantaged communities.

Capetonian Matthew Theunissen will do community service for sports development in a disadvantaged part of Cape Town as part of a settlement agreement, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Friday.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula announced on April 25 that he had banned the country’s cricket, rugby, netball and athletics bodies from bidding for, or hosting, major sporting events due to a lack of transformation. The decision would be reviewed next year.

“This experience is meant to sensitize Theunissen to the need for transformation and challenges facing poor disadvantaged communities in Cape Town,” said commission spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

The community service would be three to six months long.

He also agreed to stay off social media for a year and undergo anger management therapy.

Last month, Theunissen wrote on Facebook, “So no more sporting events for South Africa… I’ve never been more proud than to say our government are a bunch of KAFFIRS… yes I said it so go fuck yourselves you black fucking cunts”.

The post went viral and the SAHRC conducted its own initiative investigation.

Realising the “outrage and hurt” he had caused, Theunissen responded immediately to the commission, Mangena told News24.

He gave them an additional statement and unconditional apology in response to the allegations.

The latest remedial conduct was agreed to and recorded in a conciliation meeting on Tuesday.

“Theunissen will also undertake a research on anti-racism, diversity, transformation and tolerance in general, and specifically within the area of sport in order to achieve a greater understanding of transformation issues, and the hurt caused by his post.”

Asked to “explore, reflect”

Theunissen was asked to explore, reflect and understand what hate speech and racism were and why hate speech was destructive to the transformation process.

He also had to look at “how white privilege functions in South African society”.

Mangena said Theunissen was doing all of this voluntarily and at his own cost.

The parties agreed he would no longer publish or communicate any further discriminatory or hurtful language.

He would also refrain from activity on any social network for 12 months while undergoing rehabilitation.

He would report back to the commission after three months and submit himself to spot checks.

Mangena said the resolution of the matter was facilitated by Theunissen’s willingness to acknowledge his wrong doing, cooperate with them and engage in rehabilitative conduct.

“The mediation of disputes in this manner must be understood as more consistent with the principles of restorative justice, than with punitive retributive justice sanctions, which can be meted out by the criminal justice system.”

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