‘I was young and immature, but I am not a racist’ Gouws apologises for ‘racist’ comments of 16 years ago

DA MP Renaldo Gouws. Picture: @RenaldoGouws/X

DA MP Renaldo Gouws. Picture: @RenaldoGouws/X

Published Jun 18, 2024


In a now-deleted post on X (formerly Twitter), an alleged racist, DA member of Parliament, Renaldo Gouws, said: “Have a lovely public holiday, and please drink a Panado for the chest pains if a video from 16 years ago offended you.”

He was responding to tweets claiming that he was racist after a video of him sharing views on black South Africans and Africans came back to haunt him.

On Youth Day, Gouws became popular on social media after a video he had made years ago about his opinions on black South Africans came to light.

He was among the DA members to be sworn in as MPs in the National Assembly during the first sitting of the house on Friday.

In some of his “racist” posts, he said “If Africa had to disappear off the face of the earth, no one would f***** notice. That’s all I have got to say,” he said.

But in a new post, Gouws said the comments he made were out of anger and frustration at the then president Jacob Zuma and ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema who sang about killing people based on their race.

This was said from 2008 to 2009. He apologised for the remarks, stating that he was still young and immature, but dismissed claims that he was a racist.

“I refute any claims of racism or being a racist. I can however see how my message was distorted in the way it was delivered by me and I take full responsibility for the actions of my younger and immature self.

“For that, I apologise unreservedly,” he said in a tweet. But South Africans are not buying into his apology, instead they want him removed from Parliament as an MP.

There’s also a petition to have him removed. The petition has now surpassed over 36,000 signatures. The petition on Change.org was started by Kimberly Jones.

“As a believer in democracy and an advocate for unity and inclusivity, I am deeply troubled by the actions and rhetoric of Democratic Alliance member, Mr Renaldo Gouws…

“The recent videos of Mr. Gouws circulating on social media, where he spews racial remarks against people of colour, are a stark reminder of how quickly we can regress if such behaviour is left unchecked.

“South Africa, with its freshly adopted National Government of Unity, understands the importance of collective action towards common goals more than most,” Jones said.

Many of them took it to X to express their concerns and grievances. “Remove Renaldo Gouws from the Parliament NOW!,” @Ori_RSA said.

“Remove Mr Renaldo Gouws from parliament. He has no place in a government that seeks national unity. Sign the Petition! chng.it/yjnrBcX25J via @ChangeorgSA,” @AnnikalangaY said.

— Annika Langa (@AnnikalangaY) June 17, 2024

“South African Parliament to Reconsider Mr Renaldo Gouws due to Racist Remarks - Sign the Petition! chng.it/f7py7m4kcW via @ChangeorgSA,” @djsbu said.

“I have never signed a petition so fast. I've had personal dealings with Renaldo, and the behaviour doesn't stop at racism,” @Nicholasvanj said.

However, some defended him and “we all make mistakes when are are young.”

“I'm not a famous politician. But ... There are realities to living as a white South African which haven't changed. We pay for protection from a certain demographical "person".

“This isn't racism. It's just the way it is. Why should @RenaldoGouws be vilified for pointing it out?” @guillum said.

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie said wanting to remove Gouws from Parliament for something he said 16 years back, was wrong.

“I can’t stand this guy, he is not a good person in my opinion, he never let a day pass without bringing up my past during campaigning. He reminded people everyday that I once was a criminal but 2 wanna cancel or remove him from parliament 4 something he said 16 years ago is wrong,” he said on X.

As reported by The Star newspaper, Parliament said it was not aware of an online petition seeking to have the House remove Gouws from the list of MPs.

IOL tried to get comment from the DA but to no avail.

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