K-word was 'clearly intended to insult and dehumanise' Investec’s Fani Titi - court hears

2019-05-22 16:59
Peter-Paul Ngwenya (Deon Raath, Netwerk24))

Peter-Paul Ngwenya (Deon Raath, Netwerk24))

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When businessman Peter-Paul Ngwenya called Investec chairperson Fani Titi a QwaQwa k****r in an SMS, he dehumanised him, the Randburg Magistrate's Court heard on Wednesday. 

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

The SMS sent to Titi was apparently meant for Titi's business partner, Aqueel Patel. 

Conflict

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

Ngwenya reportedly stormed into Titi's business premises and threatened to kill him and his business associates.

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

Also read: Peter-Paul Ngwenya's lawyer believes the State's case is weak

During closing arguments on Wednesday morning, 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. 

Crimen injuria

He said Ngwenya clearly understood that a person committed a crime of crimen injuria when he impaired another person's dignity. 

Baba said 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 white people used it for black people. 

He said the courts should never undermine the constitutional rights of each person and should therefore protect each individual's human dignity.  

Titi and Ngwenya had a friendship that dated back 20 years, but the relationship fell apart when a business deal went south, News24 previously reported.

The defence is expected to present closing arguments on Thursday.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  racism  |  courts
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