Namhla Tshisela and Sapa
The dismissal of Sunday Times columnist David Bullard has reopened the debate on racism in South Africa, political and journalist organisations said yesterday after comments by Arts and Culture minister Pallo Jordan at a media briefing in parliament.
"He is the type of person South Africa does not need within its borders," Jordan said.
He said South Africa had enough racist "headaches" without having to import them from England or elsewhere.
Bullard was fired from the Sunday Times for an "explicitly racist" column, "Uncolonised Africa wouldn't know what it was missing", published earlier this month.
In the piece he speculated about how Africa might have looked had it not been colonised.
Jordan likened Bullard's opinions to "coming into someone's living room and defecating on their carpet".
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said Bullard's sacking highlighted the need to "open the debate" about racism and ways of dealing with it.
"We can't say that we don't need people like Bullard because we need to open the debate about racism and revisit its definition," Holomisa said.
Forum of Black Journalists chairman Abbey Makoe said: "The David Bullard issue and the subsequent wave of disapproval is a microcosm of the distance we still have to travel before we can claim that true humanity finally lies at the centre of democratic gains."
Makoe said a transformed media should have safety nets to make it "impossible for all forms of racism to sneak through".