Renaldo Gouws: ‘Is the DA unable to use the word racist?’ says Diversi-T’s Terry Oakley-Smith

A shocking video has emerged of Renaldo Gouws, a Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament appearing to spew hate speech. Graphic / IOL

A shocking video has emerged of Renaldo Gouws, a Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament appearing to spew hate speech. Graphic / IOL

Published Jun 21, 2024


As the fallout continues to unravel after racist social media rants made by Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament Renaldo Gouws, some activists believe the DA has not been decisive on the matter, and actually dropped the ball in appointing Gouws to the National Assembly.

IOL reported on Thursday that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has concluded that utterances allegedly made by Gouws constitute hate speech and/or harassment. The Commission has instituted proceedings at the Equality Court.

The SAHRC is taking action against the newly sworn-in Member of Parliament, following the racist remarks made 16 years ago. In the video, Gouws angrily calls for the killing of black people.

In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika on Friday, Terry Oakley-Smith, founder and chief executive of Diversi-T said she watched the video with “complete horror and great shock”. The video which was previously deleted has resurfaced and has been circulated widely.

Terry Oakley-Smith, founder and chief executive of Diversi-T. Picture: X

“It was complete horror frankly, and great shock mixed with huge shame as a white South African as well that in 2016 people could even contemplate saying such things. I think it has set the ANC (African National Congress) and the DA back. One wonders how they go about vetting their Members of Parliament. This man Renaldo Gouws has a long history of really vile and unpleasant posts, and also of trolling particularly white activists on social media.

“I cannot understand why he was ever allowed to join the DA if they are actually the party that they say they are, espousing the values that they have. I would have thought that going into a government of so-called national unity, all members need to be vetted. This Renaldo Gouws is a well-known racist. This is not a new discovery about him.

DA’s Renaldo Gouws. | Screengrab

On Thursday, the DA issued a terse statement, announcing the suspension of Gouws. The party said its parliamentarian had used “execrable language” in the video.

“The DA has established that the video, in which Renaldo Gouws uses execrable language, is in fact genuine and not a fake as initially suspected,” said spokesperson Richard Newton.

“The DA federal executive has therefore suspended Mr Gouws with immediate effect while he faces disciplinary charges before the party's federal legal commission.”

Oakley-Smith said the DA is seemingly skirting around the word ‘racist’.

“Is the Democratic Alliance unable to use the word racist? Yes, the language may have been execrable, but fundamentally, it was racist. When you use statements including the k-word and the n-word and other language … that is racist. It is clearly. I do not know why the DA has not been able to say that yet. I found that really quite disturbing,” she said.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is taking action against Democratic Alliance (DA) member of Parliament Renaldo Gouws. File Picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

The SAHRC said the language used by Gouws was extremely offensive and derogatory.

“In the video, Mr Gouws allegedly calls for the killing of black people using extremely offensive and derogatory language. This explicit content, initially published on his YouTube channel in March 2010, was archived despite being deleted and has resurfaced, revealing behaviour that is incompatible with the principles of dignity and equality enshrined in South African law,” the Commission said.