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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

SAHRC to probe Hank’s Olde Irish Pub’s alleged racism

7 December 2022

Cape Town - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it will request a review of the Reserved Right of Admission Policy, following an incident at Hank’s Olde Irish Pub where a 25-year-old black customer was allegedly racially profiled.

Thabiso Danca was the alleged victim of institutional racism at the pub in Bree Street last week, when he was barred from entering the establishment because he was a black person and “without a white escort”.

According to the young man, a bouncer allegedly claimed the owners gave instructions concerning the right of admission, because people like Danca “steal and cause trouble”.

The following day a confrontation between Danca’s friends and the owners ensued, turning into a fist fight that went viral after cellphone video footage was shared on social media.

However, the pub owner’s refuted the policy claims against black patrons, claiming that over the past 30 years of operating businesses, they have never instructed their staff to discriminate against anyone.

Police spokesperson, Ndakhe Gwala, said two assault cases were registered at Cape Town Central police station after the altercation.

SAHRC Commissioner, Chris Nissen, said when they heard about the incident and saw the video footage, a process was started to start an investigation into the incident.

“As the commission, we are saying it is disgraceful from the side of the owners and everyone else who might have given those alleged instructions to the bouncer. That bouncer could not have acted on his own, but acted due to instructions. We live in a democratic South Africa where public spaces must be open to everyone.”

Nissen rubbished statement by other establishment owners who came to the defence of the pub owners, claiming “the right of admission” at privately owned establishments was reserved by the owner.

“The right of admission is an old apartheid method of excluding people. On Monday, I met with the deputy minister of justice, and this policy was among the things we discussed.

“We are taking the Reserved Right to Admission policy on review because some people can abuse it or use it incorrectly.

“The policy is not meant to address how people dress or based on people’s colour, but deals with behaviour. The owner of an establishment has the right to call the police or law enforcement when a person is not behaving appropriately,” said Nissen.

According to the government, the incident was inexcusable and derailed the gains made in the country.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director-General, Phumla Williams, said: “It is horrifying and outrageous that the tendencies of apartheid South Africa keep rearing their ugly head.

As a country, we are working hard to deal with crucial challenges such as the huge inequality gap, the legacy of the past, which is also a contributing factor to racism.

“The eradication of racism can only happen on a human-to-human level, and when we recognise and accept that we have more in common that unites us rather than divides us.

Government also compliments Danca’s friend, Christopher Logan, who came to the defence of his friend.”

Williams said South Africans needed to work harder to address the scourge of racism that was dehumanising, discriminatory and humiliating, and to not undermine democracy.

She called on all South Africans to “follow Logan’s lead and take a stand against racism”.

“Racism will end, once those committing these acts recognise and understand that only they can stop it. It is the responsibility of all members of society to actively speak out against racism and promote equality.

“Racism and racial discrimination continue to be felt in our society alongside other forms of prejudice, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, hate crimes and hate speech.

Government is calling on law enforcement agencies and the South African Human Rights Commission to probe the most recent incident with speed, and to ensure that justice is served,” said Williams.

It comes hot on the heels of another incident involving Belinda Magor, who was arrested for a WhatsApp voice note calling for black people, instead of pit bulls to be banned.

“Kill them, shoot them, and get rid of them because they are the problem, not pit bulls, not animals,” the voice note says.

The EFF in the Western Cape staged a picket outside the closed establishment on Tuesday, which was anticipated to be operational.

Source: Cape Times

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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