Equality court rules in favour of Mboweni

2010-03-03 11:14

THE Equality Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of former SA Reserve

Bank governor Tito Mboweni today in a discrimination case brought against him by

businessman Mario Pretorius.

The court ruled that the utterances made at a shareholders meeting

were nothing more than a storm in a teacup.

Magistrate Siva Padayachee said Mboweni’s statement during a

September 2008 stakeholders meeting that Pretorius should not speak to him the

way white people used to speak to black people in the past did not constitute


“The court finds that the utterance was spontaneous, reactionary

and it was off the cuff and was according to objective standards a genuine

expression of dismay at being spoken to in a fashion that was rude or


“The utterance was, in the opinion of the court, not designed to

label the complainant, Mr Pretorius, a racist or take liberties with Pretorius’


Pretorius took Mboweni to court for alleged racist comments he made

during a shareholder meeting in September 2008, contending they amounted to hate

speech and were unfair and discriminatory.

He dismissed arguments that Mboweni’s statement was triggered by

his “rude behaviour”, saying his use of the word “sir” indicated he was being


During the 2008 meeting, another shareholder, Michael Duerr, called

a point of order, which Mboweni rejected, prompting Pretorius to call out

“shocking, sir, shocking”.

Mboweni retorted: “I shall not permit you to talk to me like whites

used to talk to blacks.”

Pretorius said his understanding of the statement was that, “I was

insulting him”.

Padayachee dismissed Pretorius’ complaint and ordered that both he

and Mboweni pay their own legal costs.

Speaking outside the court Pretorius said he was “deeply


“The court made a ruling that it was a storm in a teacup but it was

my teacup,” said Pretorius.

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