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Media Statement: SAHRC Welcomes the Equality Court’s Finding Against Velaphi Khumalo

Attention Editors and Reporters
5th October 2018

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC or Commission) lauds the decision by the Equality Court, sitting in the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court, in the matter of the South African Human Rights Commission v Velaphi Khumalo and the Legal Resources Centre as Amicus Curiae EQ 6/2016 and EQ1/2108.

On the 4th January 2016, the Respondent, being Velaphi Khumalo, posted two inflammatory social media statements which the Commission deemed to be amounting to hate in terms of section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (PEPUDA). On the 22nd November 2016, the Commission approached the Equality Court to obtain appropriate relief against Mr Khumalo. Mr Khumalo, the Respondent, did not initially oppose the court proceedings initiated against him by the Commission and availed himself for a meeting on the 2nd August 2017. In August 2017, the Commission and Mr Khumalo concluded a settlement agreement in terms of which Mr Khumalo agreed that his utterances amounted to hate speech. In terms of the settlement agreement, Mr Khumalo also agreed to apologise to all South Africans and to refrain from publishing or propagating hate speech.

The Court refused to make the settlement an order of court. This was also after the Judge had learnt that the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court, sitting as the Equality Court, had already made an order against Mr Khumalo in respect of the statement he made on 4th January 2016.  That matter had been instituted by the African National Congress (ANC) against Mr Khumalo. He postponed the matter and ordered the parties to make submissions on a number of procedural issues including the issue of multiple referrals of complaints under PEPUDA.

The Respondent filed an answering affidavit to the founding affidavits of the Commission, wherein he retracted his admissions that his utterances were indeed hate speech as contemplated in Section 10 (1) of PEPUDA; claimed that the court proceedings were an abuse of process due to another matter brought against him by the ANC in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court, sitting as the Equality Court and the Respondent claimed that he had responded in an agitated state to a racist statement by Penny Sparrow earlier, when he made the utterances.

Today, the 5th October 2018, the Commission welcomes the Equality Court decision which has found that:
•    The Roodepoort proceedings had no impact on the matter heard in the Equality Court, sitting in the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court and further held that there were patent deficiencies in the procedure followed by the Court in Roodepoort proceedings and that the Court did not properly ventilate the issues.  .
•    Mr Khumalo’s utterances are declared to be hate speech prohibited in terms of in section 10(1) of PEPUDA.
•    The Respondent is directed to apologise to all South Africans.
•    The Respondent has been interdicted from repeating similar utterances and should issue an apology to all South Africans, within 30 days of the court order.
•    The matter will be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority.

This matter, and many others referred to the Commission, is a clear indication that South African society at large, no longer tolerates utterances that widens schisms based in race. Utterances such as these have led to serious consequences for the perpetrators of racist utterances and thus the SAHRC calls on all within South Africa to assist in fostering a constructional democracy, based in equality, dignity and freedom by placing their efforts into social cohesion efforts.

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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