Former Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini has apologised to the Jewish community for his 2015 comments where he spoke glowingly of Adolf Hitler during a television interview.
Dlamini, one of the prominent faces and leaders of the #FeesMustFall movement was hauled to the Human Rights Commission by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD)
The mediation process took place at the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre.
SAJBD Vice President Zev Krengel said Dlamini was apologetic, remorseful and he had acknowledged that his comments had caused harm in the Jewish community.
“This understanding prompted him to make an unequivocal apology. His recognition that the statements were antisemitic, hurtful and offensive, together with his genuine apology, enables us to heal from the hurt he caused.
“It is important for us as a community, and as South Africans, to identify when genuine remorse is expressed. It is equally important for us to accept a sincere apology of this nature as it enables us to move forward,” said Krengel.
After apologising, Dlamini attended an educational engagement at the permanent exhibition at the JHGC.
He said in his apology: “In 2015 I uttered statements about Jews and Israelis that were not only provocative but also extremely offensive. It is only in retrospect that I began to appreciate how much my statements were both ill-advised and to a certain extent dangerous because they ignored the kind of trauma that they caused.
As someone who is interested in politics and how they can be used to advance a better world for all I should have known better. But consciousness is not something that you miraculously arrive at but you journey.
“My journey has made me appreciate that I was wrong and there is no possible excuse for what I said and there can be no way to reverse how it affected others. What I can do though is to supplement my apology with actions as testimony that I am truly remorseful,” he said.
Professor Karen Milner, the chairperson of the SAJBD in Gauteng, said they always tried to have a restorative approach to justice.
“Such an approach follows a process by which the offender acknowledges what he or she has done wrong, and expresses genuine remorse and regret.
“Dlamini has met these criteria, and is a successful example of what is possible with this approach.”
Dlamini also said he would teach others about the matter and said he did not want to be a leader who was known for spreading hate.
“This apology is well thought out and is a result of extensive consultation. I have thought very deeply about the kind of leader I want to be and it is definitely not a leader that spreads hate and rejoices at the misfortunes of others,” he said.
Dlamini said he also wished to travel to Israel in the future, so he could understand the culture and traditions of the Israeli people.
“Once I have enough resources I want to travel to Israeli so that I understand their culture, tradition, belonging and how their present is shaped by their past. This I think will also help me in my growth as someone who is interested in politics of the world.
“I also want to have a guided tour at the JHGC followed by a facilitated engagement with one of the facilitators at the JHGC. I understand these acts alone might not be enough and I am therefore open to any other recommendation that might assist me in demonstrating my penance.
“My act is not mitigated by the fact that I was in a leadership position when I made these statements. I had an influence on a number of people who were possibly convinced by what I had said. I highly regret using the platform that I had at the time in such a harmful way. The way I acted was undoubtedly an abuse of power,” he said.
In other news – Malawi’s Homeland Security Minister has signed extradition papers for Prophet Shepherd Bushiri
Malawi’s Homeland Security Minister has signed extradition papers for self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary. Learn more