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In an interview with AM radio station Cape Talk, Cape Town native Matthew Theunissen has apologised for a recently published racist Facebook post.
The post, which Theunissen wrote in response to Sports Minister Fikile Mbulula’s announcement that three of South Africa’s major sporting codes would be banned from hosting international sporting events until they met their transformation targets.
In the now deleted post, Theunissen labels Mbalula and his government colleagues “kaffirs” — a derogatory term used against black South African — and “cunts”.
In the interview, the Noordhoek resident admits that he typed the words in a rage, but “immediately regretted it”.
“The language I used is extremely hurtful and inappropriate,” he told Cape Talk afternoon drive host John Maytham.
“I reacted by deleting the post. Unfortunately it got to everyone. I really didn’t intend to say those words, I will regret it for the rest of my life,” he said.
Twitter does not, however, seem to be buying his apology, with the anger directed at him throughout the day continuing unabated.
In particular, his assertion that “You can ask any of my friends and colleagues and they will tell you that I am not racist at all”, has been greeted with widespread scepticism.
— Ricardo Giacovazzi's (@Ricci_Cado) May 3, 2016
#MatthewTheunissen recites the oldest racist song known to humankind, "I have plenty of friends that are of colour."
— Charl Landsberg (@charllandsberg) May 3, 2016
— Grim (@Manxeezy) May 3, 2016
Lol…. The old 'I did not mean to say it' excuse and 'I am not a racist, I have black friends' Give me a break! #MatthewTheunissen
— Reaaz Ahmed (@ReaazAhmed) May 3, 2016
— #ANCbiggerThanZA? (@shandu009) May 3, 2016
#MatthewTheunissen says he has black friends. Like WTF, don't you know our grandfather's became friends to racists masters at some point?
— Chris. (@Galaha4) May 3, 2016
Others have suggested that his apologies mean nothing and that he needed to face legal consequences:
— Julia Roberts (@TheRealJuliaR) May 3, 2016
— YZman (@ThaYZ1) May 3, 2016
— Grant Tyler (@GrantTyler65) May 3, 2016
Wouldn't it be funny if #MatthewTheunissen and the guy who whore the "kill all Whites" T-shirt end up in the same jail cell!
— Herman van Eeden (@HermanvanEeden) May 3, 2016
The post is just the latest in a series of racial and prejudicial posts to have rocked South Africa in 2016. Starting with real estate agent Penny Sparrow, black and white posters alike found themselves at the centre of controversy. The furor these posts have caused among the general population has led the government to push for harsher anti-racism laws.