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Army major dismissed for hate speech on social media

Hate speech earns officer dismissal from SA ArmyBoth the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) have welcomed the dismissal of an SA Army major over hate speech circulated on social media.

The major, who was stationed at the SA Army Signal Formation at Wonderboom military base, is alleged to have posted on Facebook after the murder of 76-year-old professor Cobus Naude, that the academic should have had “his eyes and tongue poked out”.

This was sufficient to provoke the political parties into action with calls for the major’s address details so a case of hate speech could be laid with the Human Rights Commission. Both parties indicated they will still proceed with hate speech charges.

Kobus Marais, DA shadow defence and military veterans minister, welcomed Major Vincent Mohala’s dismissal, saying it came in the wake of a request that Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula investigate the allegations of hate speech against “the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) employee”.

“We are pleased the Minister took our request seriously and has done the right thing by having Mohlala dismissed,” he said adding as a member of the national defence force, the major should have upheld his mandate of protecting all citizens – “instead he chose to incite violence and racial hatred”.

FF+ leader, Dr Pieter Groenewald, also the party’s defence spokesman, was in approval of the “decisive action that saw the major discharged”.

He said his party had taken up the hate speech issue with the Minister ahead of her budget vote address last week. “We wanted his address details so summons, in connection with hate speech, could be served.”

At the time of publication, the SANDF had not issued any statement on the hate speech allegations and apparent dismissal of the officer concerned.

In a letter dated 17 May, Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke told Mohlala that “it has come to my attention that you have uttered words on social media that contained severe racial slurs. The words uttered showed hostility and aversion on the grounds of race. This behaviour constituted a grave breach of military discipline and the Code of Conduct for SANDF members. It is furthermore contrary to the behaviour expected of a senior officer of the South African National Defence Force. The words uttered by you have brought the SANDF into disrepute, therefore as a result thereof your services within the SANDF has been terminated with immediate effect.”