South Africa's DA party suspends MP after old videos of anti-Black remarks resurface

By Bhargav Acharya

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Democratic Alliance (DA) suspended on Thursday a newly sworn-in member of parliament after an old video of him calling for the killing of Black people resurfaced on social media.

A snippet of a video resurfaced on social media platforms on Wednesday, where a young Renaldo Gouws, who is white, could be seen and heard making the anti-Black remarks.

Gouws, 41, and a former councillor in the Eastern Cape province, could not be reached for comment.

In the video, he said that he did not mean any of his racially-charged remarks and that he was giving context on then-African National Congress youth leader Julius Malema singing an apartheid-era song that called for the killing of white farmers.

Malema, now the leader of the far left Economic Freedom Fighters party, was found guilty by a South African court in 2011 for uttering hate speech for singing the song.

The video featuring Gouws sparked outrage in South Africa, one of the most unequal countries in the world, and where racial tensions have continued to simmer three decades after the end of white minority rule.

The DA, the second biggest party in South Africa's newly formed unity government, said it had established that the video in which Gouws uses "execrable language" was genuine and not fake.

Helen Zille, chairperson of the party's federal council said Gouws had been suspended from all party activities with immediate effect.

"His case has been referred to the Federal Legal Commission and if he wants to state his defence, he will be able to do so there. But till then he is suspended from all party activities and we await the outcome of his disciplinary hearing," she said.

South Africa's human rights commission said it was taking Gouws to court for alleged hate speech.

The original video posted on YouTube has since been deleted, but Reuters found an archive of the video from 2011 using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, a repository of past web pages.

Reuters could not independently verify when the video was made, before being posted online.

Over the past weekend, a snippet of another video, which Gouws admitted to posting in 2009, was branded racist with mounting calls for his resignation or dismissal.

In response to that video, Gouws issued a statement on X on Monday apologising for "the actions of my younger and immature self" and rejected any claims of racism.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)