The Equality Court in Goodwood last week started hearing the case of a white First National Bank branch manager accused of calling a black teller at the bank’s N1 City Mall branch a “stupid monkey”.
FNB sacked Tania Olsen following a disciplinary hearing, but later reinstated her after her union appealed (“FNB caught in race row,” October 5).
The move sparked protests and threats of a boycott by the EFF. Ms Olsen had been working at FNB’s Paarl branch, but she has since confirmed that she is now no longer employed by the bank. She said she would comment further on the matter at a later stage.
Bernard Joseph, provincial chairman of the EFF, which had supporters at the court on Thursday November 17, said the case had been postponed to Friday November 25.
FNB employee Andisiwe Noludwe turned to the EFF for help after Ms Olsen allegedly made the racial slur against her in January.
Mr Joseph said the EFF opposed the oppression of anyone based on their race, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
FNB spokeswoman Lee-Anne van Zyl said Ms Olsen was no longer an employee of the bank.
“The bank has a zero tolerance approach towards all matters that could undermine diversity in the workplace. We cannot provide any further details on the matter.”
Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu’s Western Cape secretary had threatened to boycott FNB should Ms Olsen not be suspended by Thursday November 24.
“Moving the offending employee to another branch is not a remedy to the problem. The Western Cape is plagued by this racist behaviour and unless we act decisively against all instances of it, it will continue escalating,” he said.
On Monday, Ms Olsen told the Northern News that she had started at the FNB branch in Paarl on Friday July 1 and then voluntarily resigned on Wednesday October 5.
She said she had retained two attorneys and an advocate to fight her case.
“After this coming Friday’s court appearance, I will be more than willing to convey my side of the story to the media. My attorneys will, however, be present during the interview,” she said.