A former city councillor has been arrested and charged with making racial insults after he abused South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a video posted on social media, police said on Thursday.

The viral video shows the man identified as former Durban councillor Kessie Nair openly calling Ramaphosa a “kaffir” — a derogatory term used against black people during the racist apartheid era.

“I Kessie Nair… do hereby call for that kaffir state President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa — Yes I mean the kaffir state president Cyril Ramaphosa — to be charged for frauding (sic) this nation,” he said in the nearly five-minute-long rant.

“For oppressing this nation, for high treason, for failing and he’s the source to all crime, violence, poor health care, poverty that prevails in a so-called true democracy.

“I’m ready to go to jail for the rest of my life or take a bullet, I just want to say that the truth will hurt.”


Presidential spokeswoman Khusela Diko said that the rant did not deserve attention and that Nair needed support from friends and family, according to local media.

“He was arrested yesterday [Wednesday] in Durban. He was charged with public violence and crimen injuria [a wilful injury to someone’s dignity, caused by the use of obscene or racially offensive language or gestures]. He will appear in court today,” Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told AFP.

Nair’s nephew, Krishnan Nair, released a statement on behalf of the family saying “we distance ourselves from such utterances”.

South Africa remains deeply divided along racial lines 24 years after Nelson Mandela came to power vowing national reconciliation following the end of white-minority rule.

In 2016, South African estate agent Penny Sparrow likened black beach-goers to monkeys in a social media outburst and was fined 150,000 rands ($10,500, 9,050 euros).

Last month South African man Adam Catzavelos faced a backlash from across the political spectrum after he used the racial slur in a holiday video he posted online.