Domestic worker rejects apology

By Drum Digital
13 November 2014

A Cape Town domestic worker has rejected the apology of her employer's ex-boyfriend after he called her a "kaffir" last year, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Peter Williams, for 50-year-old Gloria Kente, said Andre van Deventer's apology was received this week, but the defence was not fully satisfied with its contents.

He had since given Van Deventer a new draft apology to look at. He and his client had deleted the parts they were unhappy about and had inserted a few things with which Van Deventer was happy.

It was not yet clear whether this would suffice.

The Cape Town Equality Court ruled on October 24 that Van Deventer pay Kente R50,000 in compensation after he called her "kaffir" during a heated argument last June.

Equality Court Magistrate Jerome Koeries ruled at the time that he had violated the Equality Act, and that his use of the word amounted to hate speech and harassment.

"In the context of South Africa, in the context of the past, the use of the word kaffir undermines the victim's dignity," Koeries said.

Van Deventer said at the time he had consumed a litre of beer on the day in question, but the court rejected this as an excuse for his behaviour.

He told the court his financial situation as a salesman was dire and he could barely afford to pay his monthly rental, let alone Kente's compensation.

It had been difficult to make a living because he was in court twice a month for the past year and a half, he said.

Van Deventer is also on trial in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on charges of common assault and crimen injuria.

On Thursday, the trial was provisionally postponed because the magistrate was ill.

Closing arguments will be heard next Wednesday if the magistrate is present.

Kente previously testified about how Van Deventer allegedly assaulted and swore at her at her employer's home in Tableview.

The domestic worker alleged he grabbed her by her pyjamas, verbally assaulted her and spat in her face.

He admitted the crimen injuria charge, but denied assaulting her.

Last month, he admitted on the stand that calling Kente a "kaffir" was unnecessary, but said he had been fuelled by anger.

At the time, he said he was upset when Kente interrupted him while he was drinking beer and trying to connect an electronic device to a television.

He said he used the racial insult to describe her when arguing with his ex-girlfriend about Kente leaving his son with him so she could shower.

The intention had not been for Kente to hear him, even though he was screaming in the bedroom.

Kente heard him from the shower, they got into an argument in the corridor, and he said it again to her face.

-SAPA

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