Rajesh “Tony” Gupta’s verbal attack on guards at the family’s Saxonwold compound‚ in which he branded them “monkeys”‚ is being referred to the Human Rights Commission.
Lawyers for Human Rights and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will lodge a complaint on Monday. They drew parallels with the equality court case against Penny Sparrow‚ who also used “monkeys” in a Facebook post about Durban beachgoers.
Sparrow was fined R150‚000‚ and the Gupta complainants want him to pay R150‚000 compensation to two guards and R150‚000 to institutions that work against hate speech. They also want him to tender an unconditional verbal apology‚ attend equality sensitivity training and perform community service.
Gupta’s outburst was reported in emails exchanged in October 2012 by G4S manager Lenord Zaal and Atul Gupta‚ Tony’s brother. Zaal did not object to Gupta’s attack by email‚ writing that the guard involved had to improve his PR skills.
G4S MD Renso Smit said Zaal had left the company and his attempt to follow up had reached a dead end. “We have no records of any complaints at the time‚” he said. “We spoke to our employee‚ who had no recollection of the incident‚ and he is still working on the contract.”
Subsequent emails show a pattern of “whites only” preferences by the Guptas when engaging hostesses‚ butlers and spa therapists.
Heidi Gavagnin‚ director of the Gatsby Spa at Sun City‚ met them to clarify what they wanted when booking therapists. “We told them we had South African and African staff and what they wanted was white‚” she said. “We were not going to supply them with all white therapists and refused their booking. What they were asking for was unethical.”
Correspondence between the Guptas and Heilbron Hospitality suggests the butler service was happy to accommodate the family. The first line of an email to Tony Gupta from a Heilbron office manager on February 23‚ 2013 states: “ALL staff are White! I included this point in the final quote.”
Another email said: “Heilbron Hospitality confirms the provision of all Caucasian staff‚ with the majority of the waiters and a few of the butlers being female staff.”
Heilbron lawyer Ryan Hall declined to comment on this. “Our client regards the information of their clients as confidential in nature‚” he said.
White‚ female and pretty were apparently among their requirements for VIP events. “I need to get more white ladies‚” wrote a modelling agency manager who submitted photos for the Guptas to choose hostesses.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa ‚ CEO of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa‚ said it was unusual for clients to ask for members of a certain race to serve them‚ and “we do not tolerate it”.
Sizwe Zuma‚ spokesman for the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority‚ said: “We encourage the security officers to report the case with the Human Rights Commission. It is unfortunate that the alleged employer has not taken any steps to request an apology from the consumer.”
By: Claire Keeton – TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital.