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Businessman Peter-Paul Ngwenya slapped with R24k fine for use of k-word

Peter-Paul Ngwenya, seen here with his legal representative at the Randburg Magistrate's court
Peter-Paul Ngwenya, seen here with his legal representative at the Randburg Magistrate's court
Image: Thulani Mbele

Businessman Peter-Paul Ngwenya has been fined R24,000 or 12 months imprisonment for his use of the k-word to his friend.

NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed to Sowetan on Thursday that Ngwenya was sentenced in the Randburg magistrate’s court.

“He was fined R24,000 or 12-month imprisonment, wholly suspended for three years on condition that he is not found guilty of crimen injuria during the period of suspension,” Mjonondwane said.

Ngwenya was found guilty of crimen injuria last year. He was accused of calling his long-time friend Fani Titi a “k***r” and “Bantustan boss” in a text message. The message was intended for Aqeel Patel, the managing director of MRC Media.

He was acquitted on the two counts of contravening protection orders.In the same text message, Ngwenya told Patel “you will bleed” and that Titi “will see his mother”.

Titi regarded this as a threat to his life as Ngwenya knew his mother had died.The conflict between Ngwenya and Titi, who had been friends for 20 years, stemmed from a multimillion-rand deal.

Ngwenya argued through his lawyers that the k-word only became offensive when it was used by a white person to a black person. But, magistrate Pravina Raghoonandan said Ngwenya had a history of contributing to the Struggle against apartheid.

Therefore, she said, he should have known that the use of the k-word amounted to hate speech and would impair Titi’s dignity. Ngwenya spent five years on Robben Island during apartheid.

Mjonondwane said she was would verify if indeed this was the first ever case in which a black person is being convicted and sentenced of using the “K” word.

“If indeed it is the first judgement of the court, it shows to say that the use of the “K” word cannot be tolerated regardless of the race of the person using it,” she said.

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