AS IT HAPPENED - Sunette Bridges: I don't know what it means to be racist

2015-01-20 09:25

Get all the highlights from the hate speech case against Afrikaans singer Sunette Bridges in the Equality Court in Cape Town.

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Last Updated at 00:37
20 Jan 13:31
And that's where we end updates. Stay with News24 to get further information on this case.

20 Jan 13:23
Court has adjourned.

20 Jan 13:23
Desai: This matter can be resolved outside the courts. Tell to your client and see if a resolution can't be reached.

20 Jan 13:22

Judge Desai urged Kruger to make it clear to Bridges that the court is not the forum "for points to be made".


20 Jan 13:20
Judge states that Western Cape court has jurisdiction to hear matter, and the matter will be heard first on 2 March, and then 20 April.

20 Jan 13:15
Judge Desai states matter could be very easily resolved. Sunette Bridges need only settle the matter by stating own stance.

20 Jan 13:05
Kruger again pushes for matter to be moved: My client does not agree that this matter should be held in this court as the HRC head office is in Gauteng.

20 Jan 12:57
Judge asks: If something is posted on Facebook in Johannesburg, can I feel offended in Cape Town?

20 Jan 12:54
On the jurisdiction matter, Bridges's lawyer says it doesn't state anywhere that the HRC became aware of the comments in the Western Cape. 

20 Jan 12:53
Judge Desai asks Kruger if his client identifies with abusive comments by others on Facebook page. Kruger says categorically "no".

20 Jan 12:37
Kruger agrees some comments are abusive/racist. But questions if Bridges must be held liable for other people's posts.

20 Jan 12:24
Judge admits rules of Facebook are unknown to his generation so he needs clarity if Bridges denies the allegations.

20 Jan 12:21

20 Jan 12:17
Kruger argues it's impossible for the songstress to monitor or control other people's posts on Facebook.

20 Jan 12:16
And court has resumed. Bridges's lawyer, Paul Kruger, now giving counter-arguments.

20 Jan 12:12
HRC concludes. Court adjourns for 10 minutes.

20 Jan 12:06
The HRC just wants Bridges to remove the comment and apologise unconditionally. No costs. But, if it turns into a trail, the HRC may yet seek costs from her.

20 Jan 12:02
HRC: "If these examples are evidence of hate speech, Sunette Bridges is playing sport with the Constitution."

20 Jan 12:01
HRC: "Are these examples evidence of hate speech or not? That's what we want the court to tell us."

20 Jan 11:58
SAHRC cites an example of racism from user post on the activist's Facebook page: "We as South Africans want to know if a call to war against black people, even on social media, should be allowed."

20 Jan 11:52
The HRC says if this kind of speech is allowed on people's Facebook pages, then the media has the right to know.

20 Jan 11:46
HRC using common law to argue that where the story is produced and read, not written, is place of publication.

20 Jan 11:44

20 Jan 11:39
Regarding the jurisdiction matter, the HRC says: When you post on the internet, your domain is cyberspace, not Pretoria.

20 Jan 11:36
SAHRC lawyer says in a letter to them, Bridges claims she doesn't know what it means to be a racist therefore she is not. But the SAHRC lawyer says the singer is being ignorant when she says she doesn't know what it means to be racist.

20 Jan 11:27

Arguments are under way. Judge Desai will hear why Bridges's legal team wants the case tried in Pretoria rather than Cape Town.

Bridges has been quoted as saying it's absurd to try the case in Cape Town.


20 Jan 11:23
Judge Desai is presiding over the matter.

20 Jan 11:20
Members of the SA Human Rights Commission have entered the court. They're now awaiting the judge.

20 Jan 11:19

The Afrikaans singer was recently in a public spat with local soapie star, Vinette Ebrahim.

The online brawl began when Bridges posted on her Facebook page: “While the whole world is celebrating the start of a brand new year I would like you to spare a thought for the families of the 217 White South Africans who were butchered by Black Savages in 2014... [and] 3 hours into 2015 they claimed another victim…”

A clearly angry Ebrahim then replied: "Well, how does it feel Sunette Bridges to be wearing the shoe that my people wore for so long?

“How does it feel to be the downtrodden minority? How does it feel to be in fear for your life on a daily basis?

"How does it feel to be a second class citizen in the land of your birth...?

"You will never see freedom as you knew it again. You have made it impossible for yourself and those like you. Racists. Face the fact, ‘baasskap’ has disappeared never to re-emerge again.

"You and Steve Hofmeyr. Your little boeremag enclave is exactly that... little."

Ebrahim got a flood of responses with many using racist language against the actress.


20 Jan 10:59
Bridges's lawyer Paul Kruger says she made a joke and other people used racist slurs on her Facebook page.

20 Jan 10:49
Bridges legal team has arrived at court.

20 Jan 10:29

Bridges won't be at the court in Cape Town today and wants the hearing moved to a court in Gauteng.

Proceedings are set to begin at 11.


20 Jan 09:53
On her website, Bridges describes herself as an artist and human rights activist.

20 Jan 09:42

Oh, before we forget to mention it, comments for this update have unfortunately been disabled.

If you wish to constructively add to the discourse, please e-mail your comment to feedback@news24.com and we will consider the comment for publication.


20 Jan 09:25

Bridges has been facing claims of racist comments on her Facebook page as far back as 2010. When an allegation was made back then, the singer laughed it off.

"It's absolutely pathetic that people think it's racist," Bridges said, after Chris du Plessis brought the comments to Beeld's attention.

At the time, Bridges had posted a comment saying: "Of all the instruments one can use to build STRAIGHT - a spirit level, profiles, measuring tape, fishing line, square - a sjambok is the only one that works for this Greenie of mine!!! EISH!!!!! Sx."

But Bridges said the comments were not serious and were about a man who did construction work for her and was like a "child" in her home.


20 Jan 09:25

Sapa reports: The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has accused Sunette Bridges of hosting commentary on her Facebook page which constituted hate speech, the commission's lawyer Brigit Rubinstein said in a statement on Monday.

"The SAHRC contends that Ms Bridges is in violation of section 10(1) of the Equality Act, in that she has committed hate speech, and is also in violation of section 11 of the Equality Act which deals with harassment on the basis of race.

"The SAHRC has asked that Ms Bridges apologise unconditionally across all the Facebook pages over which she has primary control and that she removes all harassment and hate speech from these pages."

The commission received complaints from the public about the alleged hate speech on the singer's Facebook page for a number of years.

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