Ernst Roets has insulted court's dignity by tweeting apartheid flag - Nelson Mandela Foundation

2019-09-04 14:56

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets has disrespected and insulted the dignity of the courts and should be found in contempt, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has submitted.

The foundation was arguing on Wednesday in the Equality Court, sitting in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, in its urgent contempt of court application against Roets before Judge Colin Lamont.

The application was brought after Roets took to Twitter and posted the apartheid flag, asking: "Did I just commit hate speech?". It was posted a few hours after a scathing judgment banning its gratuitous display.

Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo declared that the "gratuitous display" of the flag constituted hate speech in terms of Section 10(1) of the Equality Act, unfair discrimination in terms of Section 7 of the act, and harassment in terms of Section 11 of the act.

Arguing on behalf of the foundation, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said there was no way that AfriForum and Roets were not aware that the judgment prohibited the gratuitous display of the flag.

"It says any display constitutes hate speech. The second problem is what Ernst Roets says subsequently at [Radio 702], which simply compounds the insult to the dignity of the court."

Defending his actions, Roets maintained that he posted the tweet in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the lobby group. He submitted that he posted the question and image for academic reasons.

Ngcukaitobi said as a person in a leadership position for the lobby group, Roets was indirectly acting on the group's behalf when he posted the flag to his Twitter account.

Display of flag 'form of contempt'

Ngcukaitobi added that there was no academic context and questioned why it was necessary for Roets to have an academic enquiry.

He added that the fact that there was no direct interdict against the lobby group did not mean it was not in contempt.

"They commit contempt the moment they conduct themselves in a way calculated to bring about disrepute to this court."

The display of the flag is a form of contempt, he said, adding that it was aggravated by what Roets later said on the radio, Ngcukaitobi added.

Judgment in the matter has been reserved.

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Read more on:    afriforum  |  nelson mandela foundation  |  ernst roets  |  johannesburg  |  courts  |  racism
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