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Panel Of Inquiry Into Texamo Spur Incident 'Not Cancelled'

The wide-ranging inquiry will allow Spur to position itself as part of an 'inclusive South Africa'.

03/07/2017 14:42 SAST | Updated 03/07/2017 15:59 SAST
Charles Gallo / Gallo Images

The Spur Panel will go ahead in October and will be an all-inclusive, wide-ranging inquiry into events surrounding the infamous incident between two parents in March this year. This will enable Spur to position itself as part of an inclusive South Africa.

Professor Elmien du Plessis, convenor of the panel, said in a statement on Monday that the Spur Corporation supports an independent process that includes "all South Africans" and not only certain segments of civil society "as has been suggested in the media".

This follows a statement last week by Spur that suggested company chief executive Pierre van Tonder bowed to pressure from the Solidarity Movement, an Afrikaner rights organisation, and apologised for the company's reaction to the March incident.

The panel was "put on hold" following a meeting between Dirk Hermann, Solidarity's chief executive, and Van Tonder. Van Tonder also apologised for the manner in which the company reacted. Hermann said afterwards that the relationship between Spur and its white clientele could be restored if the company is willing to listen to their frustrations.

Nico Viljoen was banned from the restaurant chain after he threatened Lebohang Mabyuya physically and said crudely in Afrikaans that he would give her a "cunt slap". This happened while she was sitting at her table with children.

Solidarity and one of its surrogate organisations, AfriForum, refused to take part in the panel and said there is an inherent anti-Afrikaans and Afrikaner bias. Even though they officially deny orchestrating a boycott against Spur, Hermann was one of the foremost agitators against the group. Some concession holders subsequently reported losses of more than 40% in turnover.

Du Plessis has now, however, made it clear that even though the company appointed the panel, it does not "operate as part of the Spur Corporation nor is it controlled by the Spur Corporation".

The panel's findings will be reported to Spur and the public, Du Plessis said. "The panel sees this as a remarkable opportunity for a well-known corporation in the South African context to reflect on their shortcomings, address the shortcomings and to position themselves in an inclusive South Africa that takes the concerns and safety of all its customers into consideration."

The panel consists of Du Plessis, academics Professor Kopano Ratele and Dr Wynoma Michaels, retired Afrikaans broadcaster and journalist Cobus Bester and a representative from Sonke Gender Justice.

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