Edward Zuma goes AWOL after short-paying hate speech fines

04 December 2018 - 11:13 By NIVASHNI NAIR
Edward Zuma, gone missing.
Edward Zuma, gone missing.

The South Africa Human Rights Commission went to court on Tuesday morning seeking a warrant of arrest for Edward Zuma after he failed to fully pay a settlement for his hate speech utterances.

The Durban Equality Court heard that Jacob Zuma's son was disrespectful and disregarded the court order by failing to pay R12,500 to Ohlange High School in Inanda.

His attorney, Ayanda Mkhwanazi, told the court that he did not know if his client was alive or not.

According to the commission's lawyer, Pavershree Padayachee, Zuma thought he could get away with not fulfilling the settlement because he was a high-profile person.

The commission went to court when Zuma failed to make the outstanding payment.

Zuma agreed in May to apologise to the public and to pay two schools R30,000 each for hate speech he directed against ministers Derek Hanekom and Pravin Gordhan.

In a letter Zuma described Gordhan and Hanekom as an "anti-majoritarian sell-out minority in the ANC who have brazenly and unabashedly spoken out against [then-president] Zuma on various white-monopoly media platforms”.

He called Gordhan one of the most corrupt cadres who‚ like Gandhi‚ “sees black South Africans as low-class”, while Hanekom was a "white askari who will do anything to be an obstacle to radical economic transformation and to defend white monopoly privileges".

At the time, Zuma agreed to split the R60,000 between Umthombo Secondary School in Howick and Ohlange High School.

Mkhwanazi on Tuesday told the court that Zuma had already paid Umthombo High School but still owed Ohlanga High School R12,500.

He informed the court that he could not get hold of his client to follow up, despite numerous phone calls, text messages and an e-mail as recently as a week ago. "We don't know if he is still alive or not," he said.

Mkhwanazi asked magistrate Irfaan Khalil for one more postponement to allow him time to find Zuma.

In granting the postponement, Khalil said he would do so to honour the reconciliatory aspect of the Equality Act. "The respondent has admitted that he has done wrong. He has paid R30,000 to one school and R17,500 to the second school. It's just the R12,500 [outstanding]" he said.

Khalil speculated that Zuma might have fallen into some difficulty to make the payment. "Why would he leave 20% outstanding? It does beg the question," he said.

He told Mkhwanazi that lawyers must do more to find their clients, instead of merely trying to call or send messages.

He deferred the commission's application until January 22, giving Zuma one more chance to pay his debt in full or to explain to the court why he could not do so.