The DA has suspended its member of parliament, Renaldo Gouws, after an old video of him resurfaced online that could make Justine Sacco feel a bit better about her infamous tweet. This is after several other of Gouws’ videos have come to light containing racist and homophobic sentiments. 

The video, reportedly archived since 2012, shows a younger Gouws making shocking racist and derogatory remarks that the DA initially seemed to hope were digitally altered or “deep fakes.” However, after authentication, the party had to face the grim reality that the footage was indeed genuine, leading to Gouws’ suspension pending further investigation.

In the video, Gouws is heard saying the K-word and N-word repeatedly, trying to make a point about the EFF’s “kill the boer” song controversy. 

“I refute any claims of racism or being a racist,” said Gouws, however with the damning video evidence circulating the internet, it’s a difficult claim to dispute. 

On Wednesday, the DA’s chief whip in Siviwe Gwarube stated that the incident is being investigated by the party’s highest decision-making body led by Helen Zille (who ironically has had her fair share of race-related internet faux pas). “We have noted the videos that have come to light that were taken about 16 years ago by now the member of parliament in our caucus. Of course, we rebuke any kind of racism and homophobia in any kind or form,” said Gwarube. 

Gouws, previously a Nelson Mandela Bay councillor and a prominent figure on YouTube, where he often discussed racial issues, now faces a storm of public backlash. An online petition calling for his removal has garnered over 50,000 signatures. 

In response, Gouws expressed regret for his past remarks, attributing them to youthful naivety and an ill-advised attempt at humour. However, the damage seems irreparable as legal proceedings loom, including potential action from the South African Human Rights Commission. 

We’re not too sure if Gouws’ “I was young and stupid” excuses will suffice to navigate him through this storm of public outrage.

It goes without saying that this is not the best way to start a parliamentary career. Gouws had been an MP for roughly a week before the controversy erupted, marking what might be one of the shortest-lived political careers in recent memory.