Sasha Martinengo

A white South African radio presenter has been dismissed from his job after he called a senior opposition leader “a monkey” on a live show.

“People still listen to this monkey,” Sasha Martinengo, host with a Johannesburg-based radio station, said on Tuesday during his popular breakfast show.

He was referring to the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader, Julius Malema.

The Hot 91.9FM station sacked Martinengo shortly after the remarks were made, calling his action “unfortunate and completely unacceptable”.

“The station is fully committed to all members of our community equally, irrespective of their political, ideological, religious or social viewpoints, and stands for tolerance, equality and the constitutional rights of all,” the station said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Later on Tuesday, the disgraced radio presenter apologised, but added that he stood by his comments.

“I’m sorry if I offended anyone, but I stand by what I said. Anyone, irrespective of their race, colour, creed , religion, gender who disrespects a woman is a monkey,” Martinengo said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the EFF welcomed Martinengo’s dismissal, but said it will take further action against the radio host.

“We will, through our branches, be opening a criminal case against him [Martinengo] because racists belong in jail. Our courts must deal harshly with those who continue to undermine the humanity and dignity of black people,” the EFF said in a statement late on Tuesday.

In recent months, South Africa has been hit with a number of cases of racism, 24 years after a white-minority rule marked by apartheid ended in the country.

In August, a man was sacked from his family business after a video of him calling a beach “heaven on earth” for not having any black person, went viral.

Adam Catzavelos had also used the “K-word”, a racist slur used historically by white people to denigrate black South Africans.

In a landmark ruling in March, a former estate agent was jailed for three years for using a derogatory word against a black police officer “48 times”.

In January, a white South African woman was widely condemned for describing New Year’s revellers on Durban’s beach “monkeys”.

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