Revealed: How badly Vicki Momberg behaved behind bars
Racist, now free on bail, was charged twice for verbal abuse in the four months she spent in jail
South Africa’s first convicted racist, Vicki Momberg, behaved so badly in jail that she was charged twice for verbally abusing prison officials, it emerged on Thursday.
She spent the last four months incarcerated but has now been granted bail pending the outcome of the appeal against both her conviction and sentence.
While the Randburg Magistrate's Court which had found her guilty of crimen injuria after she hurled the k-word at police officers had suspended a year of her three-year sentence on condition that she is not found guilty of the same offence again within the next three years, Momberg continued to unleash her vile tongue whilst behind bars.“During her time of incarceration, Ms Momberg was charged twice by the DCS. Both charges were related to her verbal assaults towards officials and service providers, saying that they are uneducated and immature,” Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Mocheta Monama told Times Select.
Monama said the first incident happened when Momberg verbally assaulted prison wardens who were transporting her from the court back to the prison. SowetanLive at the time reported that the language she used was so foul it could not be repeated.
The second incident happened while she was behind bars.
“The first incident happened in April, the second in May ... In the second incident, she was insulting them after they gave her instructions, calling them illiterate and immature.
“The offender was charged internally. Officials did not want to press charges externally. Such conduct by offenders can never be accepted and the department will not lose vigour in its effort to maintain a high standard of service delivery and security,” he said.
The consequences of her actions resulted in her losing some of her prison priviledges.But on Thursday as Momberg appeared before the Randburg court for her bail application, her lawyer cast an image of her being a woman being abused by the system.
Kingdom Onah, for Momberg, told the court that shackling Momberg impaired on her dignity.
He was not only fighting for her to be freed from jail but for her feet to be unchained as she appeared before the court.
“She has not shown any form of violence. There is no reason for my client to be shackled,” Onah told Magistrate Pravina Raghoonandan.
Prosecutor Yusuf Baba told the court he had no objections to her being unchained; neither did he have any reservations about her being freed pending her appeal.
After being led down to the court cells, Momberg, who has spent the last four months behind bars, emerged from the court holding cells with her feet freed, giving a little smile.
She had already been informed that she would leave the court a free woman after Baba said he had no qualms with giving her bail pending her appearance in the Johannesburg High Court where she wants both her conviction and sentence set aside.
But Onah pressed on, saying Momberg’s ill-treatment from the wardens was nothing new.
He lashed out at the Department of Correctional Services, saying their “behaviour was appalling” and adding that his client had informed him “of the inhumane treatment” she had received.Despite an earlier agreement between the state and defence to apply for Momberg’s bail, prison officials had barred her from coming to court with her belongings, Onah said.
“Also, how bad could it be for prison authorities not to inform my client that she has received leave to appeal?” Onah said, adding that he had had difficulty reaching Momberg following the High Court’s ruling to grant her leave to appeal on Monday.
Monama however said: “The allegation that she was ill-treated is untrue and unfounded,” adding that it was not the department’s responsibility to consult Momberg on the court outcomes but the responsibility lay with her legal representative.
“As a sentenced offender, Ms Momberg was not allowed to take her belongings with her to court. Administratively, an offender can only remove their belongings from the facility if a warrant of liberation has formally been received and confirmed with the clerk of court indicating that she has been granted bail,” Monama added.
Momberg’s unprecedented conviction came after her racist tirade, which was caught on camera, went viral.
She was recorded hurling the k-word at black police officers and 10111 operators after she was the victim of a smash-and-grab incident in 2016. She used the k-word more than 48 times.
On Monday, Momberg secured victory after taking her fight to the High Court where she alleged that the magistrate failed to take into account her lack of intent. She also said the magistrate had disregarded the report from her psychologist and she alleged that it was possible that the incriminating footage of her tirade was tampered with.
She further challenged her sentence, saying it was excessive.As she awaits her day in the High Court, Momberg was on Thursday released on R2,000 bail.
Onah had said that was the most she could afford, adding that the funds had been raised by her family and friends as her incarceration had resulted in her being unable to generate any income.
Baba had told the court that he had no objections to Momberg being released as she was almost due for parole anyway.
The law stipulates that she could apply for parole after serving a sixth of her sentence, which Momberg had almost done.
Baba added that he did not believe Momberg was a flight risk and thus added no restrictions to her bail conditions.
Dressed in a white vest and black pants with a touch of makeup on her face, Momberg carried the same smile when she was led down to the court holding cells for possibly the very last time.
She touched the hand of a prison warder as she walked past, seemingly in celebration of her new-found freedom.
She would return to court on November 5 where the court is to be informed of the status of her High Court case.