Velaphi Khumalo has ‘paid his dues’ and should not be made to pay or apologise again for Hitler rant: LRC
Velaphi Khumalo‚ the man who called on blacks to do to white people what "Hitler did to the Jews"‚ has paid his dues and should not be made to pay or apologise again.
This was argued by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) before Judge Roland Sutherland in the Equality Court‚ sitting in the South Gauteng High Court‚ on Tuesday.
The LRC was admitted as a friend of the court in the complaint against Velaphi.
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) brought a complaint against Velaphi following his Facebook rants in 2016.
Khumalo‚29‚ an employee of the Gauteng Department of Sports‚ Recreation‚ Arts and Culture‚ called on black South Africans to do to white people what “Hitler did to the Jews”‚ among other controversial remarks.
"Mr Khumalo explained himself‚ apologised on affidavit in two courts. He has received a final warning from his employer‚ been reprimanded by his employer‚ received training and has been cast into a criticising public eye. He has been ordered to pay monies‚" argued counsel for the LRC Irene de Vos.
She told the Equality Court that Khumalo had paid his dues as he was ordered to make a public apology and pay R30‚000 after a complaint lodged by the African National Congress (ANC) regarding the same remarks he had made on Facebook.
"He has paid his dues. The type of relief granted covers a broad range."
She argued that it would be an injustice to expect Khumalo to pay again.
The LRC also argued that Khumalo's statements did not constitute hate speech.
"It is submitted that viewed in context‚ taking into account these factors‚ Mr Khumalo’s expression fell short of the requirements of hate speech‚" De Vos argued.
"Even if a reasonable person were to take Mr Khumalo’s words literally‚ which we contend would not be a reasonable interpretation‚ his intention was clearly not for it to be taken literally."
The LRC contended that Khumalo's statements could not be compared to utterances made by Penny Sparrow who referred to black people as monkeys in her Facebook post.
"She was not part of a political debate. She was on her own."
De Vos said the court had made an appropriate decision by not making the SAHRC's interim settlement order an order of the court as it was important for the court to first determine whether his comments amounted to hate speech and if he intended to harm.
The SAHRC initially wanted the court to direct Khumalo to pay R150‚000 for his first Facebook post‚ which would be suspended on condition that he does not make the same remarks‚ and another R150‚000 for the second post‚ that he publicly apologise and report to the commission.
"This court was acting appropriately when it did not make the settlement an order of court.
"The court must first determine if there is hate speech. The court can't rubber stamp a settlement. It must play an active role to ensure it is just and fair to make an order‚" De Vos argued.
The hearing continues.