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Passenger admits to using k-word, blames airline for racist text

Alochna Moodley
Alochna Moodley

The Indian woman who referred to a black flight captain and passengers with the k-word has admitted to her crime and blames it on frustration.

Alochna Moodley, 26, who works in Midrand, Johannesburg, called two black passengers, Reverend Solumuzi Mabuza and Sibusiso Magubane, as well as captain Menzi Mvelase by the k-word in an SMS on a flight from OR Tambo International to King Shaka Airport on Friday night.

She was called out by Mabuza, who was seated next to her and saw her typing the k-word on her phone expressing anger that someone on the flight was drunk while another person was "sniffing".

Yesterday Moodley told Sowetan she had used the word out of frustration. "It was a mistake on my side, I am not going to deny that I said those things," she said.

"Yes, it's wrong for me to make those racial remarks but it was my SMS, so why was he (Mabuza) looking at my phone? He invaded my privacy and I feel like this thing was blown out of proportion."

Her comments came as EFF leader Julius Malema was being attacked for telling a Youth Day rally in Klerksdorp "the majority of Indians are racist and we must never be scared to say that they are racist".

Moodley downplayed her racial comments and blamed Kulula for the flight delay that left her frustrated.

"I was frustrated at the time because it was so late in the evening and the plane wasn't starting," she said.

She said she had tried to apologise to Mabuza but he had declined it.

Mabuza disputed that Moodley had apologised. Instead, he accused her of being arrogant when he reprimanded her.

"I told her that I saw what she sent to her man but she refused to delete it and I came to the conclusion that this child was taught this behaviour at home," said Mabuza.

"She really angered me so I said to her, 'How can you be racist when you're such a young person?' And her response was, 'Where did you get the permission to read my text?'. "

Mabuza said after Moodley was removed from the plane an Indian man came forward to apologise for being the one who was drunk and reeking of alcohol.

"I want her to be taught that in this country it is illegal to be racist and she must present her case to the Human Rights Commission," Mabuza said.

"If I must lay criminal charges, I am happy to do so."

Magubane, the other passenger called the k-word by the woman, said: "She didn't apologise at all but instead, other passengers apologised on her behalf."

The spokeswoman for the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Gail Smith, said: "Any of the people affected by the alleged incident are welcome to lodge a complaint to the SAHRC to seek redress if they believe their rights have been violated.

"The SAHRC is legally obliged to act on complaints lodged where there is prima facie evidence of a human rights violation."

Kulula spokesman William Smook said: "Kulula can confirm that there was an incident involving a passenger aboard one of our flights on Friday evening.

"The captain and crew asked that the passenger concerned be removed from the aircraft. We don't tolerate discrimination in any form."

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