President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward has threatened to lay a charge in the Equality Court against Lotus FM presenter Ravi Govender for calling his father a “zombie”.
After the opening of the ANC policy conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg on Friday‚ Govender posted the offending comment on his Facebook page.
“Just heard a Zombie Zuma giving a speech on the news. Massacring the beautiful English language. Uneducated creature. Even the other moron Mugabe speaks much better.”
The post‚ which generated a slew of responses in support for and against Govender’s comment‚ has since been deleted.
Edward Zuma lashed out at Govender‚ saying his family failed to understand what prompted him to make the statement.
“What’s the difference with calling blacks monkeys to calling them zombies. Let’s lay charges at Equality Court for hate speech‚” he said.
In a strongly worded statement‚ Edward Zuma said the president was his parent and he was prepared to defend him if need be. He said he would take up the matter with Lotus FM’s management.
“We fail as a family to understand what prompted Ravi Govender to make such a statement referring to our father as a zombie. Is this still part of freedom of speech? We believe that this is the worst form of abuse of democracy that many of our leaders fought so hard to achieve.”
He said it was true that the country faced many challenges but “to say our father is a zombie is not only an insult to us as the family but to the whole country and ANC members”.
He urged Lotus FM presenters to distance themselves from Govender’s remarks and take responsibility to use their craft to “consolidate the pace of building the foundation of a strong and vibrant nation where all of us can be proud to live together as citizens”.
Govender said on Monday that he was angry at the way Zuma was “abusing the English language”‚ add that his comment was humorous and not an attack on him.
“It was not an attack on the man. All my Facebook posts are humorous. I was angry because I am a writer and columnist. English is a very good language. But in hindsight‚ I should never have done that‚” he said.
He said he has apologised for his comment although he felt that the whole thing had been blown out of proportion.
“I’m never a racist but despite apologising twice‚ I have been receiving threats on social media.”
He called on Saturday to offer an apology but said that Edward Zuma was not prepared to talk to him at that stage.
The president’s son could not be reached on Monday to establish whether he would go ahead with legal action.