Figures of hate: Zuma joins list of racists made to pay up
Former president's son and army major the latest to learn that spewing vitriol hits the pocket
Publically spewing hate speech or racism is fast becoming a truly uncomfortable place, with two prominent men feeling the financial pinch of their utterances in the past few days.
Edward Zuma, son of former president Jacob Zuma, was ordered to pay R60,000, split between two schools, on Tuesday, while Major Vincent Mohlala was booted out of the South African National Defence Force last week for his racially fueled comments on social media.
Zuma must also issue a public apology within seven days, or further steps will be taken against him.
Zuma and the Human Rights Commission reached a settlement on Tuesday, which was read into the record at the Durban Equality Court. He was charged by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for hate speech he directed at Derek Hanekom and Pravin Gordhan – now ministers of Tourism and Public Enterprise, respectively – in an open letter.In his letter Zuma described Gordhan and Hanekom as an “anti-majoritarian sell-out minority in the ANC who have brazenly and unabashedly spoken out against [then-president] Zuma on various white-monopoly media platforms”.
He called Gordhan one of the most corrupt cadres who “sees black South Africans as low-class [curse]”, while Hanekom was a “white askari [snitch] who will do anything to be an obstacle to radical economic transformation and to defend white monopoly privileges”.
Tanuja Munnoo, KZN provincial manager for the SAHRC, said the settlement with Zuma was in line with the relief the commission sought from the Equality Court – but not all complaints could be resolved in this way.
“If the commission finds a violation of a human right has taken place, the facts of each case would have to be considered,” Munnoo said.
A person’s prominence in the public eye was not a factor, she explained.
“You almost have to remove the name and the face, and assess each complaint on its own merits.”A major misstep
Major Vincent Mohlala of the South African National Defence Force was handed a letter of termination last week following lengthy discussions by his bosses over comments he posted on social media.
In March, Mohalala posted racially fuelled comments on a picture of a seriously wounded elderly man, Braam van Wyk. Van Wyk and his wife, together with Professor Cobus Naudé, were attacked at a Randpark Ridge home by two men.
Naudé, 74, was fatally stabbed and Van Wyk was badly beaten.
“They should have removed his eyes and tongue so that he lived the rest of his life to the grave in a nightmare, horrible, racist old man,” Mohlala commented on pictures of Van Wyk following the attack.
He was dismissed with immediate effect last week for his comments, Department of Defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini confirmed to Times Select.
“As the SANDF we view this matter in the most serious light,” Dlamini said.“Considering the SANDF’s responsibility to the Constitution, it is one of the most important departments that must not tolerate prejudice.”
Dlamini said the dismissal of Mohlala was not a ministerial directive, but was discussed at length among the top leadership who decided that “drastic action was necessary to warn others in the service against such behaviour”.
The SANDF would not be taking further action against Mohlala. “We have dismissed him. We have done our part,” Dlamini said.
High cost of a rant
So far in 2018, racists have been coming up short against the justice system.
The Randburg Magistrate’s Court sentenced Vicki Momberg to an effective two years in prison for repeated use of the k-word while ranting at police officers on the phone and on the scene after she was the victim of an attempted smash and grab in 2016.
She was found guilty on charges of crimen injuria.The courts also found that the dismissal of Meyer Bester, who worked at the Rustenburg Platinum Mine, and was charged with making racial remarks in 2013 after he called a colleague “swart man” in a spat over parking, was justified.
The cabinet has also approved the Hate Speech Bill, which is currently before parliament for approval.
In essence, the bill, if passed in its current form, will result in a jail term of two years for first time offenders are found guilty of hate speech. Repeat offenders could face up to five years behind bars.
The bill encompasses a wide definition of hate speech, which means South Africans could find themselves in hot water for any remarks seen as demeaning about race, age, disability, gender or language, among others.