Baboons and Pussies: Allegations of Racism and Sexism at Barloworld Equipment

Baboons and Pussies: Allegations of Racism and Sexism at Barloworld Equipment

On the 26th of October 2023, Not In My Name International wrote to Barloworld Equipment CEO, Ms Andronicca Masemola seeking clarity and her intervention on allegations of continued harassment and humiliation of a black female service provider by Barloworld Equipment. In a typical corporate intimidation style, a letter of acknowledgment was sent through lawyers, stating that the contents of our letter were being circulated internally for consideration and that further communication must be through the lawyers.

The matter at hand involves Fisokuhle, a black female owned small company which was under Barloworld’s Siyakhula program. Not In My Name International is deeply concerned about allegations of sexism, racism and pure corporate bullying by Barloworld Equipment, which involved black people being referred to as “Baboons and Pussies.”

Ms Buthelezi, the owner of Fisokuhle has already been forced to commence with litigation against Barloworld Equipment in respect of the events around the WhatsApp termination of their contract. This has had devastating impact on her personal and professional life. Fisokuhle is a small business that will not be able to sustain a legal battle with a corporate giant such as Barloworld Equipment.

Not In My Name International has also noted communication between Barloworld and Ms. Buthelezi, i.e., the exchange of texts between herself and the Barloworld Group CEO, Mr Dominic Sewela in October 2020. It is worrying that, to date, this matter has still not been amicably resolved. Furthermore, we have also noted ongoing attempts to permanently silence Ms Buthelezi and intimidate her through fancy lawyers from sharing her experience of abuse on social media platforms.

“Small businesses in South Africa are already struggling without any form of harassment and abuse of power. Add that to being black and female, born relegated to the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy, and having to fight for your business against a big corporate company such as Barloworld. It is unacceptable, and I believe you have the power to put an end to it all.”

Not In My Name International calls on all forward thinking South Africans to join us in a series of pickets outside Barloworld offices on dates to be announced soon. We also wish to record our dissatisfaction with the South African Human Rights Commission, which was alerted about this matter but chose not to act appropriately.

While we wait for the finalisation of our letter’s “circulation for internal consideration”, we wish to appeal to the moral consciences of those with melanated skin like ours, who happen to be at the helm of Barloworld: Do what is right and stand up for your people.

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