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Magistrate blasts Kohler Barnard's 'Stalingrad strategy' in racism case

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard has been slammed by the court for failing to prepare for a case.
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard has been slammed by the court for failing to prepare for a case.
Image: Trevor Samson

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard was criticised by a magistrate for failing to prepare for a case at the Equality Court on Thursday in which she is accused of making discriminatory utterances.

It was a bruising 95 minutes in which both Kohler Barnard and her advocate‚ Michael Tsele‚ were criticised for appointing an advocate on the eve of the hearing and failing to file a responding affidavit.

"I have read a little bit on strategy and to the little bit I've read‚ there is something called the Stalingrad strategy … it would appear to me that your client has adopted that strategy in dealing with this matter‚" said an angry magistrate Daniel Thulare as Tsele proposed that the case against Kohler Barnard be referred to an alternative dispute resolution forum.

Kohler Barnard was taken to the Equality Court by DA staff member Louw Nel in February for allegedly making discriminatory utterances during a workshop with staff members in the party's offices in parliament a year ago.

According to Nel‚ who is the DA's director of parliamentary operations‚ Kohler Barnard's utterances were xenophobic‚ sexist and racist in nature.

She allegedly told the hour-long workshop that:

Farm murders had decreased since the removal of then Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe‚ as Zimbabweans had returned home. Women had themselves to blame and were stupid for being scammed as they entered relationships with Nigerian men who slept with them and solicited money under false pretences; and Black children were killing "whiteys" with stones thrown at vehicles from bridges‚ never mind the fact that coloured and Indian people were also being killed.

She allegedly also questioned why these "kids" were not in school. The Equality Court sat on Thursday to determine whether it was the proper forum to hear the matter or whether it should be referred to a different body‚ institution‚ tribunal or forum.

Nel‚ who represented himself‚ argued for the court to hear the matter saying the utterances allegedly made by Kohler Barnard were not part of a political debate‚ but discriminatory utterances made in the context of an otherwise rational discussion surrounding matters of safety and security.

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