SA’s courts are racist, says new deputy police minister

2010-11-10 13:00

Deputy police minister Maggie Sotyu said that South Africa’s courts were racist because black criminals received harsher sentences than their white counterparts, Beeld newspaper reported today.

Sotyu said a white farmer who dragged a black farm worker behind his bakkie got off with a fine of R10 000.

In contrast, when a black worker killed a white farmer, he was jailed for life.

“We are saying that this is the politics of racism. Our courts need to be empowered. They need to be aware that we are now in the new South Africa,” she added.

The comments drew criticism from civil rights group AfriForum, which said it had asked National Director of Public Prosecutions, Menzi Simelane, to determine whether Sotyu had transgressed her parliamentary privilege.

“The deputy minister should devote her time and energy to the effective prevention of violent crime rather than polarising the community to an even greater degree with her racially obsessed statements,” said AfriForum’s head of community safety. Nantes Kelder.

Sotyu, a former chairwoman of Parliament’s portfolio committee on police, was appointed deputy minister in President Jacob Zuma’s major Cabinet reshuffle 10 days ago.

She reportedly made the remarks after a briefing to MPs yesterday on the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation’s report on violent crime in South Africa.

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