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Suspended Toyota employee apologises for ’racist’ Facebook slurs

File Photo (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

File Photo (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Published Sep 24, 2021


Durban - A Toyota SA Motors employee has been suspended following threats and insults he allegedly made on social media.

Khehla Leonard Mngwengwe made the comments on a live feed hosted by comedian Karou Charou on September 10.

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During a discussion on the violence that took place in Phoenix during July this year, Mngwengwe posted: "Wait until the army disappears and we will never forget nor forgive. We will make sure we triple by hundreds of what you did to enocent black people. You must know that you kulis will never rest (sic)."

Several people criticised the post, with some writing to Toyota South Africa where Mngwengwe works as a production team member.

This included Dr Ash Naidoo, who wrote: "While the Toyota employee has made these utterances in his personal capacity, it ultimately reflects on Toyota SA, as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

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"Mr Khehla Mngwengwe, a production team member at Toyota SA (I assume Prospecton), threatens violence against the community of Phoenix, on a public social platform. In these racially charged times in KZN, these threats hamper social fabric cohesion efforts and further contribute to volatility and business uncertainty. Furthermore, his ease of use of derogatory racial name calling reveals intent."

Mzo Witbooi, the spokesperson for Toyota SA Motors, confirmed that the company was aware of the social media post. He added that Mngwengwe had been suspended pending an internal investigation.

"We are busy with our internal investigation. Appropriate action will be taken in line with our policies and procedures once the investigations have been finalised. We understand that the authorities are also investigating the matter."

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Mngwengwe told the POST that he was sorry.

"I would like to say to the community of South Africa, black, white, Indian, coloured, that I am deeply sorry. I regret my statement. I made it out of anger."

He said one of his friends had died during the unrest and he was hurt by what had happened.

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"I lost a friend who was very close to me on that day. He was working in Phoenix. Nobody deserves to be killed. I love this country so much.

"I have Indian friends, we go fishing together during fishing season, I'm not a violent or hateful person, I don't even have a gun, let alone a knife. I'm just a young boy who is willing to learn from the elders of this country."

Narendh Ganesh, a community activist, is nevertheless taking the matter to the Equality Court.

"The racially inflammatory statement on a public social media platform by Khehla Mngwengwe reflects the poverty of citizens who care less about the value of citizens of this country," said Ganesh.

"In a highly volatile environment as a result of recent events, threatening racial violence that is tantamount to murder and compounding by despicable racial name-calling cannot be left unattended. I will be preferring a formal complaint with the Equality Court in Durban within this week."

He said such utterances should not be tolerated.

"Some members of the public have complained to his employer, Toyota SA, and I believe disciplinary action has been instituted, but it is imperative that this matter must be attended to by a court of law as such conduct is unacceptable and equally intolerable. I do not take such threats lightly and neither should any other citizen."


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