Judges rule against racist guest house owner - 'His conduct can never be tolerated in a democratic society'

2018-12-03 16:42
Andre Slade. (Facebook, file)

Andre Slade. (Facebook, file)

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Two judges have confirmed an Equality Court finding that Sodwana Bay Guest Lodge owner Andre Slade was guilty of racist hate speech when he claimed that white people were superior to black people.

"His conduct can never be tolerated in a democratic society," KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban Judge Esther Steyn, with Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel concurring, said in a recent ruling.

The matter came before them on review, with Slade arguing that Umbombo Equality Court Magistrate Tamo Moodley had not understood his religious contentions.

"The court failed to sufficiently recognise my right to human dignity, freedom and equality," he said.

"And the order (that he apologise and pay a fine of R50 000 to a local health and education NGO), punishes the son of God for doing his work, for being a witness of the truth," he said.

The complaint with the Equality Court was lodged by the Isimangaliso Wetland Park and the Department of Tourism, with the assistance of the Human Rights Commission.

No accommodation

This followed statements Slade made on his website that he would not accommodate black people or government employees.

In a radio interview, he claimed black people were not "people", that segregation was part of God’s law, that black people were servants, and that they were classified in the Bible as animals.

The judges said Moodley’s ruling showed that he was very much alive to the right to freedom of expression and the limitations thereof.

READ: 'Blacks are not people' - guesthouse owner found guilty of hate speech

They said the magistrate had said:

"Mr Slade did not provide this court with any scientific evidence to authenticate or to back up his research, other than to refer this court to certain verses of his Bible or Torah, which he interpreted to suit his dogma. This is contrary to the moral and ethical principles of humanity.

"By not regarding blacks as human beings, but as animals, he strips them bare of their dignity and falls outside the protection of the Constitution and are contravention of Section 10 of the Equality Act as it relates to hate speech.”

'Demeaning in the extreme'

They said it was clear that the proceedings were conducted fairly and that Slade had been given an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, to testify and to call his own witnesses.

"The relief was not unjust, given the nature of his conduct and his lack of remorse.

"As much as the Constitution recognises the right to religious freedom, it does not grant the right to discriminate against other human beings in the name of a belief system," the judges said.

"The right to religious and freedom of association cannot be used as tools to destroy the right to equality and human dignity. His biblical beliefs that blacks are inferior, less intellectual and less human are not only demeaning in the extreme, but without any substance."

Read more on:    durban  |  racism  |  courts
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