Fine for racist insult at gym
Jonathan Erasmus, The Witness
Richards Bay - The woman accused of saying "kaffirs will always be kaffirs" to a lawyer at a gym was fined by the Richards Bay Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
Ashika Ramdeen, 38, pleaded guilty to a charge of crimen injuria and was fined R4 000, half of which was suspended for five years.
In handing down the sentence, magistrate Godfrey Khumalo said it was “disgusting” that people use such words against others.
“I don’t want to even mention that word you used as I don’t want to remember it. Society needs to be protected against such behaviour,” said Khumalo.
Ramdeen’s lawyer, James Scharnick, reading out Ramdeen’s admission of guilt, said she understood that her words were insulting.
Phrase spoken to daughter
In a seven-point statement Ramdeen admitted what she had said to her daughter at the gym.
“I said it in earshot of the complainant and did not care if he heard [what I said]. I said these words entirely of my own free will,” said Ramdeen’s statement.
Prosecutor Scelo Hlela had asked for imprisonment and a severe fine.
“It is worrying that offences of this nature are commonplace in the area of Richards Bay. Ramdeen should be well aware where this country comes from and maintain that knowledge of that period everyone is willing to forget. What is disturbing is she used the phrase to her daughter.
“Will this country ever move on from racial hatred and intolerance if parents are teaching their children [such words and behaviour]? This type of behaviour must stop as it breeds intolerance,” said Hlela.
The complainant, Jabulani Cebekhulu, 34, said the emotional pain caused by what happened couldn’t be removed by a simple fine but that he understood that the court’s hands were tied.
“This is a crimen injuria case, which is often not taken seriously, and she [Ramdeen] must be sentenced according to the current legislation which governs this offence," he said.
“We need to protect citizens from all types of racial intolerance and I don’t mean just protecting black people; there is racial prejudice in our society such as incidences of xenophobia. But if people don’t raise the issue legislation will only come about after an extreme incident has taken place.
“Nevertheless, I am happy people are talking about race, tolerance and the incident since it was first reported in the media,” said Cebekhulu.
Ramdeen had a dispute with Cebekhulu at the Richards Bay Virgin Active Gym on March 7 when Cebekhulu asked her to vacate an exercise machine on the super-circuit.
He said she had “jumped the queue” and wasn’t following the sequence.
Cebekhulu opened a case against her shortly after the racial slur. She was arrested and kept in the cells overnight.