The South African Human Rights Commission is probing allegations over a motoring journalist’s alleged racist comments on social media calling black people ‘gorillas’ and Indian’s who pray to rats.
Bernard Karl Hellberg snr of the motoring publication, ‘Driven’, is also being investigated by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists of which his son is the chairman of the guild.
The son, Bernard Hellberg jnr is the publisher of the motoring publication, ‘Driven’ including various magazines SA Express, FlySafair, Bidvest Lounges and British Airways.
In the docket that is in possession of the SAHRC the Hellberg snr likens blacks to gorillas in a comment on a Facebook post. In a comment on a Mail and Guardian story regarding the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans association published in 2017, Hellberg snr writes, “The tricky part will be to get the bush out of these dancing bunnies.”
In respect to Indians, he said: “Those fellas probably worship rats as reincarnated relatives. Add new meaning to rat race.”
The docket that was presented to the SAHRC was compiled by motoring journalist, Thegandra Naidoo who was a member of the Guild until expulsion over another issue. In a letter to Naidoo, the SAHRC Gauteng provincial manager, Buang Jones confirmed that the complaint fell within its mandate ‘and will be investigated’.
Naidoo stated in a letter to the Guild: “In my opinion [his comments] amount to hate speech and he should be charged with crimen injuria and dismissed from the SAGM for his racist rants.’
Hellberg snr refused to comment on the matter stating he is a victim of a smear campaign. Hellberg jnr denies that as the guild’s chairman, that he is shielding his father from disciplinary action. He did not want to comment on the matter that will be proceeding at the SAHRC.