K-word did not impair Titi's dignity, court hears

2019-05-23 17:06
Peter-Paul Ngwenya (Deon Raath, Netwerk24))

Peter-Paul Ngwenya (Deon Raath, Netwerk24))

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The dignity of Investec chairperson Fani Titi was not "impaired" when businessman Peter-Paul Ngwenya called him a QwaQwa ka***r in an SMS, the Randburg Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

"There is no truth to the allegations that Mr Titi's dignity was impaired in law," Ngwenya's lawyer, Nqabayethu Buthelezi, said during his closing arguments. 

"He (Titi) can't claim that the word is racially abusing him," he said.

Buthelezi argued that the k-word was only offensive when a white person used it against a black person. 

The text message which Ngwenya sent to Titi was apparently intended for Titi's business partner, Aqueel Patel. 

Harassment order

Ngwenya, who spent almost five years on Robben Island during apartheid is facing charges of contravention of a harassment order and crimen injuria.

Buthelezi argued that Titi never opened a crimen injuria case against the accused. 

News24 previously reported that Ngwenya had said Titi owed him almost R54m. The conflict ultimately resulted in Ngwenya not only calling Titi a "QwaQwa k****r" but a "bantustan boss" in an SMS.

Ngwenya reportedly stormed into Titi's business premises and threatened to kill him and his business associates. He allegedly said: "I will kill these dogs."

Titi then filed for a protection order, which prohibited Ngwenya from making direct or indirect contact with him.

But Buthelezi hit back at Titi and Patel, saying that the alleged threats were a fabrication designed to get his client arrested as part of the "bigger existing fallout between the parties".

Threats

He told the court that Ngwenya did not threaten Titi or Patel.

"The accused denies emphatically that he uttered the words that he would 'kill these dogs'. It's a concoction," Buthelezi argued.

"If the court is not persuaded on the point of the alleged threats being a fabrication, the court can still not find the accused guilty on that particular charge as there exists so many contradictions and holes in State's case," he said. 

On Wednesday, the State argued that Ngwenya dehumanised Titi when he called him the k-word. 

Prosecutor Yusuf Baba said the use of the words were "clearly intended to insult and dehumanise Mr Titi and were clearly experienced by Titi to be extremely injurious". 

"It is unimaginable that anyone in this country, and in particular [Ngwenya], could genuinely have thought that it was morally and legally acceptable for people of the same race to call the other the K-word," Baba said. 

Baba added that it seemed that Ngwenya wanted to convince the court that the k-word could be used among black people and that it would only constitute crimen injuria when used by white people against black people. 

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