The Human Rights Commission has asked Durban’s Equality Court to find Edward Zuma guilty of hate speech and order him to pay a fine of R100 000 to a suitable non-governmental organisation.
The complaint laid by the HRC has its foundations in an “open letter” President Jacob Zuma’s son wrote last year in which he attacked Derek Hanekom and Pravin Gordhan.
He subsequently apologised but the commission was not satisfied.
“He only apologised to Hanekom, Gordhan and the ANC,” chairperson Bongani Majola said in his complaint filed with the court.
“We bring this application in the public interest.
“We have noted with concern an increase in the number of complaints we have received over the past four years relating to hate speech.
“It is in the public interest for the court to pronounce on the phenomenon, which appears to be gaining momentum and threatens to undermine the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights in South Africa,” he said.
In the “open letter” – which Majola claims was widely reported in the media and social media and elicited “public outrage” — Zuma describes Hanekom and Gordhan as an “anti majoritarian sell-out minority in the ANC who have brazenly and unabashedly spoken out against (President) Zuma on various white monopoly media platforms”.
He said Hanekom “was no better than a vile dog trained to maul our black skin” and labelled him an askari. Gordhan, he said, was one of the most corrupt cadres who, as Gandhi, “sees black South Africans as low class k……s”.
Majola said the use of the word askari “reveals a denigration with an orientation and/or threat of violence”.
The attack on Gordhan sent a message “that the South African Indian community has grown economically through deceit and stealth and subjugation of African people”.
In a brief response, Zuma merely notes many of the allegations but says the commission must prove that there was public outrage at the letter.
He also says the allegations of hate speech are merely Majola’s “personal opinion”.
“The applicant has no case sound in law. The matter should be dismissed with costs.”
Equality Court Magistrate Irfaan Khallil has set the matter down for a (pre-trial) directions hearing next week. However, the commission has asked for more time to file a further affidavit. — News24