Kohler Barnard's Facebook post 'hate speech' - court papers

Dianne Kohler Barnard
Dianne Kohler Barnard

Cape Town - The ANC has taken DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard to the Equality Court, saying a Facebook post she shared praising apartheid leader PW Botha constituted hate speech.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe filed papers to the Western Cape High Court on Thursday, on behalf of the ruling party.

The party said Kohler Barnard's act of sharing the post was racist.

“In terms of the Equality Act, Ms Kohler Barnard's post unfairly discriminates against Africans, coloureds and Indians on the grounds of race,” the papers read.

“The act of retweeting the post constituted hate speech because it could be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to be hurtful or harmful.”

The ANC wants Kohler Barnard to pay R500 000 in compensation to an organisation identified by the court.

It wants the director of public prosecutions to consider laying criminal charges against her, and for her to pay legal costs if she opposes the suit.

DA membership revoked, reinstated

Kohler Barnard’s DA membership was terminated at the end of October last year, after she shared journalist Paul Kirk's Facebook post.

"Please come back PW Botha - you were far more honest than any of these [African National Congress] rogues, and you provided a far better service to the public," it read.

At a disciplinary hearing, she pleaded guilty to breaching the party’s social media policy and bringing it into disrepute.

In December, Kohler Barnard’s expulsion from the DA was lifted following an appeal.

The party decided to keep her in her position until the end of the fifth Parliament, on condition that she not be found guilty of any transgressions during that period.

She, however, had to attend a presentation on the safe use of social media, pay a R20 000 fine, and resign from all elected positions in the party, except that of MP. She was demoted from shadow police minister to deputy shadow minister of public works.

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