SAHRC to probe EFF member allegedly behind Tracy Zille Twitter account

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The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it will investigate the controversial Tracy Zille Twitter account that has been raising hell on social media. 

A Twitter account with nearly 50 000 followers labelled as Tracy Zille, has in recent months, been trending for its race-baiting tweets. Besides its horrific and highly offensive comments, there appears to be more to the account. 

Jean Le Roux, a research associate with the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), claimed that it’s a fake account and there’s one person behind the image of a white woman named Tracy Zille, benefiting financially from the public outrage. 

The SAHRC’s Chris Nissen said hate speech is a very destructive tool that tears the South African society apart. 

“We are investigating the matter and it will be taken to the equality court,” he told The South African.  

IS AN EFF COUNCILLOR BEHIND THE TRACY ZILLE TWITTER ACCOUNT? 

According to Le Roux and the team, it was suggested that an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) councillor is behind the Twitter account. 

“Earlier this week, #TracyZille was propelled to the top of SA’s trending lists by her controversially racist tweets. My investigation for @DFRLab tracked down the man making money from the account: a government official and EFF councillor from Makhado,” said Le Roux. 

According to Le Roux, the research points to Anthony Matumba, who is allegedly employed by the Makhado Local Municipality in Limpopo. 

“Matumba has registered multiple websites in his name, which he monetised using Google’s AdSense,” said Le Roux. 

“In order to drive traffic to these sites and increase the ad revenue they generated, several Twitter accounts spammed links to the websites, mostly in reply to prominent Twitter personalities. One of these accounts, @TracyZille, quickly rose to dubious prominence due to the racist tweets it put out in late June 2020,” he added. 

The South African contacted the EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo for comment on the matter, however, did not respond at the time of publishing. 

DA WELCOMES THE SAHRC’S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE

The Democratic Alliance (DA), in a statement on Wednesday 26, said it welcomes the decision by the SAHRC to pursue its complaint against Matumba.

“Matumba, who is an EFF Councillor in Limpopo, pretended to be a white woman, Tracy Zille, and posted several racial incendiary tweets aimed at spurring on racial discontent. The utterances on the @TracyZille account sought to demean Black South Africans, whilst at the same time vilifying white South Africans,” said DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Glynnis Breytenbach. 

“The DA is of the view that this is tantamount to hate speech and we are pleased that this matter will now be tested before the Equality Court,” added Breytenbach.

Some of the tweets which emanated from the Tracy Zille account include: 

“Funny how Blacks complain about how banks give them loans for cars but don’t want to give them business and house loans. Listen here, they are not your banks. Build your own banks & stop complaining. U are the only race in the world without a major bank.”

“SA Black men are pure cowards. They are driven by fear. Even their own women have lost hope in them. SA Churches are filled with Black women seeking spiritual intervention because men failed. These drunkards own nothing. What kind of men are u who do not own your land and economy?” 

The account still appears to be active. Its last tweet was recorded on Wednesday 26 August, just hours before this article was published. 

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