Johannesburg, Nov 5: Several white South Africans who posted anti-Indian racist remarks on social media on Diwali have been taken to court by the country's ruling and opposition parties.
The most serious of the posts read, "To those idol- worshippers and devil disciples who buy them in the name of religion, p*** off to your backwoods of India".
The same user also wrote that he would derive great pleasure from "strangling them and watching them turn blue while their tongues popped out".
Amid outraged reaction from South Africans of all races, the user put up an apology, but both the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) in Parliament have laid charges in the Equality Court (EC) after refusing to accept the apology.
"I posted some remarks in anger yesterday and would like to apologise to those people I have offended. Anger is not an excuse and I realise the foolishness of my remarks was uncalled for. Once again, my sincere apology and I will undertake to promote divali (sic) in a positive no-bangs manner," the apology read.
Another offensive post which has since been deleted read "(Indians) are supposed to revere animals, with a cow being sacred, but as my friend from India once said, the f****** 'charos' (a derogatory term for South African Indians) sent here from India to cut cane were all the low class rubbish with no morals, it shows!".
"Vulgar and offensive language hark back to the crude apartheid past and undermines the hard work in building social cohesion in our country," ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma told the Daily News.
"We are determined to make an example of racists who chance their hand and think they will get away with it. Racists are a tiny, badly-bred minority who must be isolated in our communities and be forced to bear the consequences of the actions. It is important that all our communities learn about each other's practices and respect the right to freedom of religion," Zuma said.
"This language has no place in our constitutional democracy, where the right to religious freedom is enshrined in our Bill of Rights. It is disgustingly hateful and fundamentally undermines the dignity of many South Africans," said DA provincial chairman Haniff Hoosen.
South African Hindu Mahasabha president Ashwin Trikamjee welcomed the ANC's decision to prosecute the offenders.
He said people who were upset about even controlled fireworks displays during Diwali were taking advantage of the soft nature of the Hindu community by using the occasion to make racist remarks about Indians.