Cape Town – Whilst being live on air on Tuesday morning, Hot 91.9 FM presenter Sasha Martinengo called Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema a monkey. Martinengo later posted on his Twiter account that he apologizes for any offence, but remains adamant that someone who is disrespectful is a monkey.
Managing director of the radio station Lloyd Madurai responded that the incident was unacceptable and dismissed Martinengo from his involvement with the station with immediate effect. Madurai says that the station is committed to upholding the values of the Bill of Rights and the incident was a clear violation.
The SA National Editors’ Forum chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase said that the organisation welcomed the dismissal of Martinengo. Mahlase said that radio presenters play an important role in the shaping, building and influencing ideas of their listeners.
It is reported that the Gauteng branch of the EFF will apparently be opening a case against Martinengo today. The party is unhappy with the insults directed to their Chief in Command and refuse to tolerate further violations of Malema’s human rights.
Martinengo’s lawyer Cliff Alexander highlighted his fears the charge will have on his client’s reputation. He expressed that his client is not a racist. Alexander is reportedly going to challenge the dismissal with lawyers specialising in labour law. Alexander says that Martinengo’s comment was taken out of context and will argue this in court.
Sasha Martinengo has been instructed to not add additional commentary on the situation and refrain from trying to explain the context around his comment.