BLF leaders in the clear after judge makes U-turn over racial remarks aimed at dead Hoërskool Driehoek pupils

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The restoration of the bridge that collapsed at Driehoek Hoërskool. (Panyaza Lesufi via Twitter)
The restoration of the bridge that collapsed at Driehoek Hoërskool. (Panyaza Lesufi via Twitter)

A high court judge has made a U-turn over his initial judgment regarding racial remarks made by Black First Land First (BLF) leaders over an incident at Hoërskool Driehoek that left four pupils dead earlier this year.

On February 1, Roydon Olckers, Jandré Steyn and Marli Currie lost their lives in the school yard when a concrete slab linking two buildings at the school fell on a group of students and injuring 26 others. Another pupil, Marnus Nagel, later succumbed to his injuries in hospital, News24 previously reported. 

The pupils were heading to their classrooms after assembly when the incident occurred.

In the wake of the incident at the school, which is situated in Vanderbijlpark, BLF spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp responded to a post by Facebook user Siyanda Gumede in which he said he was unmoved by the pupils' deaths as they would eliminate "three future problems" from the world. 

The now defunct party's spokesperson responded Gumede was "correct" in posting the comment, saying "God is responding".

"Why should we frown on the ancestors' petitions to punish the land thieves including their offspring," he added.

ALSO READ: 4th learner dies in Hoërskool Driehoek disaster

Acting on behalf of the parents of two pupils who died and two others who survived, labour union Solidarity took the BLF to the Equality Court.

On Tuesday, the Citizen reported Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng had prepared a ruling in the Equality Court that found Maasdorp guilty of hate speech and ordered him and the BLF's deputy secretary-general, Zwelakhe Dubasi, to pay R50 000 in damages to each of the affected families of the dead children, which would have amounted to R200 000. 

Judge Mokgoatlheng then nullified his ruling following the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in favour of former journalist, ambassador and columnist Jon Qwelane.

Qwelane was vindicated by the second highest court in the land after he wrote a column titled Call me names, but gay is not okay, which was published by the Sunday Sun more than 10 years ago.

He was found guilty of hate speech two years ago. His conviction was overturned recently by the SCA.

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