Momberg case: IJR applauds SA justice system for viewing jail term as appropriate punishment for racism

2018-03-29 14:30
Vicki Momberg. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Vicki Momberg. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) on Thursday applauded the South African justice system for viewing a jail term and "not a mere fine" as appropriate punishment for racism.

This after Vicki Momberg was on Wednesday sentenced to three years' imprisonment, of which one year was suspended, in the Randburg Magistrate's Court.

"The IJR – as one of the civil society organisations behind the draft plan of the national action plan to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance – views this sentence by the court as a milestone, considering this is the first time a judge sentences someone to jail for using the k-word," the organisation said in a statement.

READ: Jail time for all racists? Here's what the law says

"This sentencing has ensured that racial intolerance is punished for its inhumane and degrading exploit. For the largest part, confronting racism was left to social media and hashtags to oppose this with perpetrators going without punishment."

The outcome would also "encourage the silenced to seek justice when confronted with this act".

"While applauding this, the IJR also notes that to completely root out racism, South Africa needs a more holistic set of measures that will deter or eradicate racism in its wholeness in the long term. This sentence may serve to deter against the actions of racism but not the attitudes as attitudes will need much more."

Momberg was convicted of four counts of crimen injuria on November 3 for a racist rant during which she lashed out at a black police officer who had helped her after an alleged smash-and-grab incident in Northriding, Johannesburg.

In a video clip that went viral, Momberg could be heard complaining about the "calibre of blacks" in Johannesburg, which Magistrate Pravina Rugoonandan slated during sentencing.

Rugoonandan said the police officers who assisted Momberg were in their uniform, ready to serve, and Momberg's slurs stripped the officers of their dignity.

The former real estate agent has been denied bail pending her leave to appeal.

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Read more on:    vicki momberg  |  crime  |  racism

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