According to The Citizen the The Smokehouse and Grill has shut down following a protest by the EFF over Adam Catzvelos’ video in which he celebrated being on a beach with no black people.
The restaurant had fired Catzvelos on August 21, the day after Catzvelos’ video was made known to them and the public at large.
WARNING: Video contains offensive language
It was also in the process of unwinding his minority stake in the business and giving his shares to its workers.
On August 25, according EWN the employees at St George’s Fine Foods, one of the companies linked to Catzvelos pleaded with the public not to punish them for his racist actions.
They claimed to have an overall pleasant working experience with Catzvelos’ father and brother.
On 6 September the EFF led a protest at the The Smokehouse and Grill.
Shit is going down at Smokehouse and grill in braam pic.twitter.com/HGrozdibiZ
— Carlos 🎲 (@_carlosZA) September 6, 2018
They allegedly threatened the manager with steak knives they’d picked up from the tables.
The restaurant has now closed its doors, leaving 29 of its employees jobless.
I have a few thoughts here. First off, I think the EFF protest was more the last straw than the real reason the steakhouse shut down.
The racist incident happened in August, so if that was causing subdued trade it wouldn’t have been doing that for a month.
My sneaking suspicion is that it wasn’t doing great trade before that. We are in a recession.
I went to look at the menu at Zomato, and this place’s pricing was pretty much in line with the industry standard, which is to say that you can braai a full meal for three at about the same price as it would cost to eat there on your own.
Steakhouses are expensive and their food isn’t particularly difficult to cook, so you’d expect them to be doing badly right now.
It also offends me a bit when people use their employees as hostages like this. The rich should not be immunised from protest simply because they employ people.
That said, I don’t see what the EFF were protesting here. The guy who said the racist thing had already been fired, his shares were being unwound and given to the workers, there was clear contrition on the part of the business and an attempt to make amends.
If you do not accept apologies you cannot expect them either. If you do not accept people attempting to make good, then you cannot complain if they remain bad.
If you want people to change and they make an effort to do so, only for you to threaten them with knives when they do, then it seems a little counter-productive.
Further, while it is a different company, one has to wonder if the employees wanted the EFF to get involved given that the people at St George’s Fine Foods specifically asked people not to do this for fear of losing their jobs.
And that is without even getting into how the EFF is deeply racist. Their recent statements regarding Indians, Jewish people and whites show quite clearly that they have no real objection to racism, they are racists.
When you cannot guarantee that you will never call for genocide, AKA the murder of people based upon their race, you are a racist. There is no other word for this.
But leaving their hypocrisy aside what really were the EFF aiming at? What was the business supposed to do further than it had already done? What was being demanded?
And if you were to say that I just don’t get it, I’d agree with you on this, I don’t. So far as I can see it was all about political grandstanding, and if that resulted in the business closing and 29 people losing their jobs, what was gained from it?
What was supposed to be the result here?