Protip: If you’re an entitled, old, racist white guy, it’s not wise to go on a rant against black people in an airport when the whole world can whip out their smartphones and record you being a douchebag.
That’s what happened last Thursday evening at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa, when a PwC executive was acting like a jag to a South African woman and her family, and the woman’s daughter, Bulelani Ngcauzele, tweeted out a couple videos of the incident.
Ngcauzele told News24 in South Africa that she and her family had taken their stepfather to the airport on Thursday and were at the ticket counter sorting out a booking issue when the confrontation with the PwC executive began:
“My mom was standing behind us with her trolley and luggage. This man came up to her with his suitcase and ticket in hand [without a reason to be at the counter] and started going off about how f…d up the country is because of ‘you people’,” Ngcauzele said.
“She was very calm about it and told him to leave her alone, but he continued to harass her. He thought she was on her own, but my brother was making a video of what was happening.”
Ngcauzele said she had intervened when the man charged her brother, wanting to take his cellphone.
“He was nasty and ridiculous. He told us that all he wanted to do was ‘help you people’ and how he had invested R150m in this country. He was going on about how he ploughed into SA and that ‘these people’ were not fit to lead.”
One recording her brother took with his phone has video, while the other is audio only:
I repeatedly asked him to leave us alone and step away and he wouldn’t. We called for security and nobody helped. They just looked on. An airline counter employee called the police who came to apprehend him and we have opened a case. @PwC is this what you stand for? pic.twitter.com/KteWdSaeuv
— Bulz Ngcauzele (@Bulzlelani) May 31, 2019
Eventually, a staff member from the airline her father was flying with saw and heard the commotion and called the police, according to News24.
“[The man] went toward the bathroom as if he was running away, then headed toward the boarding gates. The police followed him and when he tried to board the officers told him they were aware that there had been an incident,” Ngcauzele said.
While News24 didn’t identify the PwC South Africa executive, Ngcauzele had no problem calling him out on Twitter, and to me, it seems like a pretty good match.
@PwC this racist is part of your staff. Is this really what you stand for in post-apartheid South Africa? In 2019? A black family minding their own business in a public space was attacked by one of your own! pic.twitter.com/bd8LejVJBt
— Bulz Ngcauzele (@Bulzlelani) May 31, 2019
Now, to say PwC South Africa acted swiftly on disciplining the jackass would be incorrect, so it seems. The incident happened on May 30 and the firm didn’t say that it was aware of it until June 1:
We have initiated an immediate investigation into this incident. PwC apologises unreservedly to the individuals involved in this. What was experienced in no way represents the values of the firm, nor the conduct we expect of each and every one of the members of PwC South Africa.
— PwC South Africa (@pwc_za) June 1, 2019
Then earlier today, the firm finally let everyone know that the guy was gone:
The employee involved in a racist incident at Cape Town Airport on Thursday evening has left the firm’s employ with immediate effect. As a firm we don’t tolerate racism and act decisively if any employee is found to have transgressed our values and policies.
— PwC South Africa (@pwc_za) June 3, 2019
This jackass should have been fired on May 31 at the latest, not June 3. And PwC wouldn’t admit that it canned his ass, according to News24:
PwC Africa’s chief operating officer, Fulvio Tonelli, said that following the racist incident, the firm had initiated “disciplinary steps” over the weekend pending a formal investigation into the incident by the firm’s senior leadership. …
News24 asked PwC for clarity on whether the executive had left before a disciplinary hearing commenced, if he left after, or if he was fired. PwC refused to comment.
A case of crimen injuria—a crime under South African common law defined as the act of “unlawfully, intentionally, and seriously impairing the dignity of another,” such as for racism—had been opened following the incident, and criminal charges against the PwC executive are pending, according to News24.