In a public apology outside the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, after he and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) reached an agreement, Agrizzi said he understood that the wounds of apartheid were still “raw” and for him to have put “salt in those wounds was despicable”.
“From my heart to all South Africans, I really apologise. It should never have happened and I am deeply regretful of that.”
The SAHRC dragged Agrizzi to the Equality Court for racism and hate speech in May after his admission at the state capture commission of inquiry that he used the racial slur word and racist rants in an audio recording, which was played at the inquiry in January.
Agrizzi said even though the recording was leaked and disseminated, from his side, he should never have uttered such words.
After consultations which took about a month, the SAHRC and Agrizzi’s legal team reached a settlement agreement that he publicly apologise to all South Africans and donate an amount of R200 000 to the Barney Mokgatle Foundation in Alexandra, Johannesburg.
The foundation is a non-governmental charity organisation that promotes social cohesion, non-racialism, social justice and reconciliation.
The foundation was founded and is led by Barney Mokgatle, who was also a student activist in 1976 and is a resident of protest-ridden Alexandra.
“We cannot have South Africans, like myself, going out there and using derogatory words and the k-word.
“I hope that this helps to bring cohesion to South Africa and that’s why Barney Mokgatle is a shining example to me and is going to mentor me on how to bring cohesion wherever I go,” Agrizzi said.
He added that he would also be visiting a crèche in Alexandra to offer support and spend time with children from the area.
Accept the apology
Mokgatle said his foundation welcomed the agreement reached by the two parties, adding that it should send a strong message to everyone in the Republic.
He pleaded with South Africans to accept the apology with open hearts, adding that when a sinner repents, angels in heaven rejoice.
“I think when this word was used, Mr Agrizzi was still young and he grew up thinking that it is the right [word to use], but at least today he understands that it is wrong and we are all humans,” said Mokgatle.