Hate speech stopped

2015-11-04 10:02
Phumlani Mfeka

Phumlani Mfeka (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - A judge confirmed an interdict stopping a member of the Mazibuye African Forum, Phumlani Mfeka, from spreading hate speech and inciting violence, particularly against the Indian community in KwaZulu-Natal.

The court order interdicts businessman Mfeka from inciting or advocating hatred against or discrimination against members of the Indian community, or “any community in KZN”.

It also restrains Mfeka from making statements that may incite racial violence, and orders him to refrain from making such statements “orally or in writing or by means of electronic media”.

The court ordered Mfeka to remove any such remarks from electronic media, including text messages, Twitter, WhatsApp or on Facebook.

Judge Kobus Booyens confirmed the interdict against Mfeka despite the sheriff having been unable to find him to serve the original urgent interdict on him. He did so after advocate Piet Bezuidenhout handed up an e-mail sent to Mfeka by attorneys acting on behalf of the two MECs who obtained the interdict against Mfeka, which showed that the businessman had replied to the mail.

The e-mail advised Mfeka of the urgent interdict granted against him on October 17, prohiting him from “making or publishing racist utterances”.

Mfeka responded, “It is a right bestowed upon me by nature to die, on this I require permission from no one it is my blood that must spill so that my people can be free and free absolutely.”

He did not oppose Wednesday's court application.

The urgent interdict was obtained by Transport, Community Safety and Liason MEC Willies Mchunu, and Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay in the wake of an SMS sent to Pillay by Mfeka.

Mchunu said in an affidavit that he and Pillay were attending a KZN provincial executive committee meeting when Pillay checked his phone just before lunch and saw a message from Mfeka.

Mchunu described the anti-Indian message as “militant” and said it was brought to the attention of the premier. It was resolved at the meeting to apply for an urgent interdict against Mfeka.

“His conduct is regarded in a very serious light by the executive council as it is an incitement to violence and could well result in instability in the province, and specifically lead to violence against persons of Indian descent,” said Mchunu.

He said previous derogatory remarks made by Mfeka and members of the Mazibuye African Forum against Indian people were not as militant as the contents of his text message to Pillay.

He said Mfeka had expressed anti-Indian sentiments in a column in City Press in 2013. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has also supported an application by the SA Human Rights Commission against racist comments by the forum and two of its members, including Mfeka.

Mchunu said Mfeka’s latest utterances amounted to a criminal offence and steps in that regard would be taken against him.

The matter would also be referred to the Human Rights Commission.

However, this would take time, and it was necessary to first obtain a court order to protect the citizens of KZN.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hate speech  |  court

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