How to Be Convicted of ‘Racism’ in South Africa
Dan Roodt, American Renaissance, February 25, 2020
Vicki Momberg is a white South African woman who was sentenced to three years in prison for using the word “kaffir,” the South African equivalent of the American “N-word.” Black thieves had just broken into her car — while she was in it — and she used the K-word repeatedly when she reported the attack to a black policeman. Unluckily for her, she was caught on cell-phone video.
Miss Momberg was mysteriously released early from jail on December 27, 2019, apparently as part of a presidential pardon of 14,647 prisoners, many of whom were hardened criminals. The South African media call her a “convicted racist,” a modish new term. The ANC regime has proposed a Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill that would make it a crime to use racial slurs for Blacks or Coloureds. Many Coloured or mixed-race commentators are pushing for the Afrikaans word “hotnot” (short for Hottentot and also referred to as the “H-word”) to be criminalized too.
However, the courts and the media have not waited for this law to be passed. As I reported at this site, Springbok rugby player Eben Etzebeth was accused of using the “H-word” and hauled before the South African Human Rights Commission. The latest news on January 24, 2020 was that his case would proceed to the so-called “Equality Court.” If found guilty, Mr. Etzebeth could also face a three-year jail sentence, which is the prescribed punishment for a first offense under the not-yet-passed Hate Speech Bill. The courts are already applying its provisions by reference to the South African common-law transgression of crimen injuria, or “impairing the dignity of another.”
The South African Human Rights Commission therefore has little to do with “human rights” in the ordinary sense; instead, it functions as a kind of anti-white thought police. Whenever a white is accused of racism or hate speech, its legal teams immediately investigate and punish to the full extent of the law — or even in the absence of the law if we consider the still inoperative Hate Speech Bill. Large fines and prison terms are SAHRC’s favorite penalties.
For whites, it is a crime simply to use certain words, whereas there are no off-limit slurs against whites, including the vulgar “mlungu,” which means “white scum.” There have been cases against blacks, but only when they call for killing whites. Last December, the leader of a radical black political party called Black First Land First (BLF), Andile Mngxitama, was charged after he said at a political rally: “You [whites] kill one of us, we will kill five of you. We will kill their children, we will kill their women, we will kill anything that we find on our way.” There has been no verdict.
Another case involved BLF’s slogan, “Land or death,” which is about taking the land from whites. In May last year, a black presiding magistrate found that the “written statement, ‘Land or Death’, constitutes hate speech in that it is a statement that could reasonably be construed to incite harm against those that own land and are white people and is therefore based on the prohibited ground of race.” Fair-minded as this may appear, the sole punishment was to “apologize unconditionally” — no fine; no jail time. Whites can go to jail simply for using a forbidden word. I know of no black defendant who, even after a determination of guilt, has been fined, much less imprisoned.
I know of only one case in which a fine was imposed — but not paid. In 2016, a government employee named Velaphi Khumalo put this eccentric composition on Facebook:
I want to cleans this country of all white people. we must act as Hitler did to the Jews. . . . [W]hite people in south Africa deserve to be hacked and killed like Jews. U have the same venom moss. look at Palestine. noo you must be bushed alive and skinned and your off springs used as garden fertiliser.
He had agreed to pay R30,000 ($1,800) to a charity, but a later hearing before the Equity Court of Johannesburg found no evidence that he had paid anything. He was ordered to “apologize to all South Africans” and remove his statements from Facebook.
A year ago, the Commission found that the following statement by Julius Malema from November 2016 was not hate speech:
They [whites] found peaceful Africans here. They killed them. They slaughtered them like animals. We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people — at least for now. What we are calling for is the peaceful occupation of the land and we don’t owe anyone an apology for that.
Mr. Malema was implying that he may in the future call for “the slaughtering of white people,” but the commission’s reasoning was interesting:
The statement may be construed as ‘hurtful’ by a white audience. However, a consideration of context requires that the identity of both the target group and the offender should be taken into account. The white group is socio-economically powerful. In contrast, Mr Malema belongs to the vulnerable black population group, which remains predominantly poor and landless. Furthermore, ‘hurtful’ should be interpreted as meaning ‘severe psychological impact,’ which the statement viewed in its context would not have for most South Africans. To the extent that the statement might have a severe impact on a proportion of white South Africans, for example farmers who feel unsafe, it would still fail the objective test for hate speech.
Evidently the Human Rights Commission classifies all whites (including poor ones) as “socio-economically powerful,” while all blacks are “vulnerable.” Mr. Malema earns a high salary as a member of parliament and boasts on social media about his Hollywood lifestyle fueled by various corrupt activities on which the newspapers have reported at length. But he still belongs to “the vulnerable black population group.”
In another case referred to by the Commission, South African Board of Jewish Deputies v Masuku and Another, Jews were found to be a “vulnerable group,” despite being in some respects the most powerful group in the country. The SAHRC seems to be saying that gentile whites can never be “vulnerable,” so that nothing anyone says about them could ever be hate speech.
The current legal ambiguity about “hate crimes” means the SAHRC can prosecute the same person twice for the same offense. Typically, the commission lays a criminal charge against the putative “racist,” which sets in motion a trial on the basis of crimen injuria. At the same time, the SAHRC can sue the unfortunate speechcrime practitioner in civil court or the Equality Court on behalf of the alleged victim.
My own suspicion is that Vicki Momberg was eventually released via presidential pardon because she was becoming something of a white martyr. The state has never disputed that she was the victim of a smash-and-grab robbery, but it was she — not her black attackers, who were never caught — who had to do prison time.
According to her lawyer, Miss Momberg is now suing the state for “unlawful arrest.” The unlawful arrest occurred while she was trying to appeal her initial sentence and would have had the right to be out on bail, but there was a dispute about the date on which she had to file the appeal, and this led to her arrest. Miss Momberg is also claiming damages from the state for defamation, pain, and malicious legal proceedings amounting to R8.5 million ($570,000).
Whatever the merits of Vicki Momberg’s case, and despite running out of money and now being dependent on second-rate legal-aid lawyers, at least she is fighting back. As she explained in one of her court appearances:
I’m sorry to anyone that I have offended. It was not my planned action and I was also a victim that night. If that smash-and-grab incident never happened, I wouldn’t have been standing here today.
The role of the media in the Momberg case has been crucially important. Reporting ranged from the relatively matter-of-fact, detailed articles published by Beeld’s Jana Marx in Afrikaans here in Johannesburg — destined for a white audience — to inflammatory rants in newspapers with black audiences. The left-wing Radio 702 and the equally biased TV news channel eNCA started a campaign to ensure that Vicki Momberg got a “heavy sentence that would deter other racists.” Some blacks called for her to be executed, which is absurd because South Africa does not have the death penalty.
Miss Momberg’s initial sentence by an Indian magistrate, Pravina Rugoonandan, was in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, in a suburb of Johannesburg near where her altercation with the black police officer took place. She then appealed to the High Court which is in crime-ridden, completely black downtown Johannesburg. During her appeal, she said the media campaign against her had led to a flood of death threats and that she wanted media barred from the courtroom.
Until recently, it had been impossible for media to film or take pictures inside a courtroom, which gave rise to our tradition of having artists draw portraits of the accused at trial. However, and especially after the Oscar Pistorius murder case that drew global attention, the media have become more insistent on reporting from the courtroom. Miss Momberg was unable to stop this.
The media therefore crucified Vicki Momberg, beaming her face into every home as part of this show trial. Despite serving time in jail, losing her income as a real estate agent, and with more legal wrangling yet to go, she has retained some dignity. She has not completely prostrated herself before the Human Rights Commission.
Not so, the young Greek-South African, Adam Catzavelos, who sent a humorous cell-phone video shot on a Greek island, in which he said he was beside an “amazing sea and not one k*ff*r in sight.” He promptly apologized, adding “I will spend the rest of my life repenting and trying to make up for my total lack of respect and judgement.”
For using this single word — once and in a foreign country — Mr. Catzavelos is awaiting sentencing on his crimen injuria charge, which will be handed down on February 28. He has also been the victim of the SAHRC’s double-jeopardy tactics; he has already settled a civil case in the Equality Court, in which he will pay a R150,000 ($10,000) fine and do a lengthy stint of community service in the black ghetto of Soweto. During his appearance earlier this month (February 13), he again crawled to the prosecutor: “What I did that day was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever done. I’m deeply ashamed of what I did.”
Mr. Catzavelos’s own family has disowned him and fired him from his job in their restaurant business. He is reportedly reduced to doing menial labor in Soweto for his new black masters. There is a distinct flavor of the Soviet Union in the way whites who violate norms of anti-racism have to undergo “ideological purification” before being “allowed back into society.”
At the end of 2019, the SAHRC issued a statement: “Most of the complaints received by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over the past year were race-related . . . . [T]he majority of complaints were related to allegations of racial discrimination against black South Africans.”
How a few million whites scattered among 50 million blacks can still cause so much “discrimination against black South Africans” remains a mystery.