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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Belinda Magor's racial pitbull case explained: 'it's pure hate speech'

28 November 2022

Former magistrate and advocate Deon Pool speaks to Lester Kiewit about the legal merits when it comes to the arrest on crimen injuria of Belinda Magor, who called for the "banning" of black men during a conversation on Whatsapp about the banning of pitbulls.

A Gauteng woman who unleashed a vicious racial attack on social media will now face the music for her actions.

Belinda Magor has been arrested and charged with crimen injuria, after a voice note did the rounds of her calling for black men to be killed and "banned" instead of pitbulls.

Magor's remarks comes amid a highly charged public debate over the banning of pitbulls in South Africa, following a recent spate of attacks.

The 60-year-old blamed her rant on her diabetes.

While the South African Human Rights Commission investigates this incident, the incident is once again a wake-up call that racism cannot go unchecked.

The case also raises a few interesting legal issues.

Former magistrate and advocate Deon Pool spoke to Lester Kiewit about the legal merits of the case.

    Defamation is a civil claim you would institute if someone insults you in public. Crime injuria is the criminal part of defamation and the intentional, unlawful act which affects the dignity of another person. So the definition, out of our common law discourse, is that it must be aimed at a certain person or individual.
    Deon Pool, former magistrate and advocate

There are two precedent setting cases on crimen injuria.

In 2018, Vicky Momberg was found guilty of four counts of crimen injuria for racially abusing a police officer in 2016.

Adam Catzavelos was also convicted on crimen injuria after he posted a video in 2018 while on a beach in Greece, denigrating black South Africans.

He pleaded guilty to one count and was handed a suspended sentence of R50 000 or 30 months in prison.

In the past, a charge of crimen injuria could only be laid by an individual, but it's been extended to include a collective.

    There was no real reason for these comments other than to be's pure hate speech. Our law has established to a large extent that you can apply the principles of crimen injuria to a collective, but it needs to be a person of that collective representing [that particular group].
    Deon Pool, former magistrate and advocate

Social media also created a space for racial discourse to proliferate.

In the Whatsapp age, viral images and voice notes travel at lightening speed and those who forward racist messages do not think of the consequences.

Pool stressed that under the Cybercrimes Bill, anyone who distributes a racist or insulting comment can be held liable.

This is a new piece of legislation that hasn't been tested yet.

    The moment you as the author send a [malicious] message, you have contravened the act. Any person who sends it on may be in contravention of the act. And any kind of social platform that has an administrator will also get into trouble. The defences that are raised are very limited.
    Deon Pool, former magistrate and advocate

Apart from the crimen injuria charge, Magor will be dragged to the Equality Court.

Pool said while Magor did not use the 'k' word, her remarks were very similar to Momberg's racial rant.

    She is taking the same approach and tone by targeting a specific ethnic group in this country.
    Deon Pool, former magistrate and advocate

Major is scheduled to appear in court in March next year.

Source: Cape Talk

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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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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