Commission to appeal dismissed k-word complaint

2011-08-04 14:49

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will appeal a judgment by the Lydenburg Equality Court that dismissed a tenant’s complaint of hate speech, after his landlord allegedly called him the k-word.

The commission would appeal the judgment in the Pretoria High Court tomorrow, spokesperson Vincent Moaga said.

The equality court dismissed the complaint in May 2008 because documents entered into the court file were not shown to the respondent, farm-owner Deon Labuschagne.

It ruled that unseen documents would prejudice his case and render the trial unfair.

Moaga said a court clerk should have made copies available to all parties but failed to do so.

“[Our appeal papers] argue that by dismissing this matter without providing the SAHRC with the opportunity to argue its merits, the court did not apply its mind properly and acted unfairly.”

Letswano Johannes Baloyi approached the SAHRC after he had an argument with Labuschagne in December 2007.

Baloyi, a long-term tenant on the farm, was preparing for his wedding and erected a tent on his allocated property in preparation.

“As he was busy, the owner expressed dissatisfaction with the process, claiming that Baloyi didn’t consult him. Exchanges took place and Labuschagne got angry.

“That is apparently where he used the k-word and other insulting words ... I was told that there were many similar incidents before this as well.”

The SAHRC will argue that the court could have ordered a copy of the documents be given to Labuschagne and then postponed the matter to give him time to prepare.

It will ask the high court to set aside the judgment and refer it back to be fully argued and determined after hearing all admissible evidence and submissions from all parties.

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