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Hate speech: MC can't act

By unknown | Sep 19, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

The Magistrate's Commission (MC) cannot act against a Port Elizabeth magistrate convicted of hate speech until the court refers the case to them.

MC head Danie Schoeman said yesterday that the commission would study the judgment only at the request of the magistrate who presided over the case in the Port Elizabeth equality court.

Schoeman said the presiding magistrate had to order the clerk of the court to forward the judgment to the commission.

"Normally [our] attention to the matter [is drawn] for us to act," Schoeman said.

"Unless that happens we do not investigate."

Magistrate Johan Herselman was found guilty yesterday of hate speech after calling cleaner Khayalethu Geleba a baboon.

Human Rights Commission (HRC) spokesman Vincent Moaga said: "Herselman's conduct violated Geleba's human rights so we sought damages and an unconditional apology on Geleba's behalf."

Geleba, employed by he department of public works as a cleaner, was moving a table with a colleague to another office when it scratched a door.

Herselman, who was behind him, said: "Look, this baboon is scratching the door."

In his affidavit Geleba said he felt humiliated and hurt by the remarks.

"I felt sad and hurt because this magistrate insulted my integrity. I kept quiet and kept on struggling with the table and then he asked my colleague: 'Where did you get this baboon?'"

"I felt degraded as a human being."

Sentence will be passed on November 11.


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