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Velaphi Khumalo apologises for anti-white hate speech

The court ordered that Velaphi Khumalo publish a written apology to all South Africans.
The court ordered that Velaphi Khumalo publish a written apology to all South Africans.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

Velaphi Khumalo, the man who wrote on Facebook that blacks should do to white people what “Hitler did to the Jews”, on Friday apologised to the nation.

The High Court and Equality Court, sitting in Johannesburg, declared last month that Khumalo’s comments that he made in his January 2006 post were hate speech.

The court also interdicted Khumalo from repeating the comments – and ordered him to‚ if he had not already done so‚ remove all references to the utterances from any social media or other forms of public communication.

The court also ordered that Khumalo publish a written apology to all South African citizens acknowledging that the comments were hate speech‚ that he was wrong to say them and that he undertook to never utter any remarks prohibited by the Equality Act.

In his apology released on Friday afternoon, Khumalo apologised unconditionally for the comments he made on Facebook on January 4 2016.

Khumalo is employed by the Gauteng department of sports, arts and culture and recreation as a sports promoter.

Following his Facebook remarks, an internal disciplinary was convened by his employer, where Khumalo pleaded guilty. He was given a final written warning.

“I admit that my comments were hurtful not only to white people, but also to black people,” Khumalo said in his apology letter.

Khumalo, in his explanation to the Equality Court, described the context in which the comments were made.

“I explained that I was responding to hateful remarks made online by Penny Sparrow, and those who sympathised with her.”

In January 2016, Sparrow made disparaging comments on Facebook about black beachgoers and referred to them as monkeys. The Equality Court ordered in 2016 that Sparrow should pay a R150,000 fine for her remarks.

In August last year, the court granted Sparrow, whom the court heard was not employed and had no assets, a two year extension to pay the fine.

Khumalo said at the time he made the remarks, he was himself subjected to hate speech, including remarks made by white people that affirmed Sparrow’s views that black people were “monkeys” and that they were unclean and undeserving of being let onto public beaches.

“Those remarks made me angry. I responded in kind. I accept that I was wrong to do so. I did not intend to harm anyone. I was hurt and angry,” Khumalo said in his public apology.

Khumalo said he accepted the Equality Court’s decision that it was not what he intended that mattered, but whether the remarks might reasonably have been understood to be intended to damage the nation-building project and to other white people.

Khumalo said as a sign of respect for the rule of law, he had instructed his lawyers not to appeal any aspect of the Equality Court’s judgment.

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