René Otto. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
René Otto. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

MiWay said it would not press charges against former policy holder, Mondli Madlala, after he apologised for the fake racist e-mail he had drafted to appear as though a MiWay staff member had written it.

Madlala apologised in a Thursday meeting with MiWay CEO, René Otto and head of marketing and brand, Nthabiseng Moloi, stating he had experienced no racism in his interactions with MiWay or its staff, the company said in a statement.

Two MiWay employees — who had received hate-mail and death threats as a result of Madlala’s actions — said they accepted his apology and would not press charges against him either.

"I apologise sincerely for my actions. I acted impulsively and without any thought to how this post would spiral out of control. I have learnt how dangerous social media can be, if misused, especially in SA. I also realise that I put the two MiWay employees in danger and I plan to meet with them, to apologise again in person," Madlala said.

Madlala was identified in an independent forensic investigation into the incident. MiWay had rejected his insurance claim because he had not adhered to policy conditions, said Otto. The Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance had upheld this decision.

To retaliate, Madlala drafted an e-mail that appeared to have been written by a MiWay claims assessor, in which a meeting was referred to where it was allegedly agreed that 90% of claims submitted by black people would be rejected. The fake e-mail received widespread vitriol on social media, despite MiWay saying that no such meeting had taken place.

"MiWay recognises that it could have done better in its communication with the client, which possibly could have contributed to Mr Madlala’s dissatisfaction. It must be noted that this did not affect the merits of the case," MiWay said in a statement. "Mr Madlala was given the option to make a public apology or face legal action, and today he agreed to a joint statement with MiWay, regretting his actions."

MiWay would not tolerate any actions that served to incite racial disharmony in the country, said Otto.

Madlala had agreed to give talks at the six schools in MiWay’s corporate social investment initiative, the MiHeart Project, about the dangers of social media.

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