'Forgive me' - Kessie Nair apologises to Ramaphosa, public for k-word slur

Former Durban businessman Kessie Nair in court. (Mxolisi Mngadi/News24)
Former Durban businessman Kessie Nair in court. (Mxolisi Mngadi/News24)

Former Durban businessman and convicted fraudster Kessie Nair has apologised to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the nation for calling him the k-word in a Facebook video.

Nair appeared in the Verulam Family Court on Wednesday for bail proceedings.

He has been charged with six counts of crimen injuria and two of incitement of public violence for the use of the word in the widely-circulated video.

During a brief adjournment, Nair took the opportunity to apologise to Ramaphosa via the media present.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to the state president, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, and to the nation as a whole. I'm not a racist," he said.

"The remarks I made on the video which I posted, there could have been different alternatives that I could have utilised, but using the k-word obviously brought about the emotional aspect.

"I would call upon the president and the nation to find it within them to forgive me," said Nair.

During the proceedings, the court heard that Ramaphosa had not filed a statement in Nair's case.

"Cyril Ramaphosa has not filed a statement in this matter, whereas he is the complainant. The defence has received information that Ramaphosa has not filed the statement. That's a fact," said Nair's lawyer Chris Gounden.

Heart disease

Prosecutor San Bhartu said the State was not prepared to reply to Gounden "at this stage".

Gounden argued that the case should not be treated differently to other crimen injuria cases.

He said, "whether it was the president or a lame walking across the street", the case should not be treated as a high-profile case.

Gounden had told the court that he was ready to proceed with his client's bail application, but Bhartu instead applied for Nair to be sent for 28 days of mental observation at Fort Napier Hospital.

He argued that Nair was fit to stand trial and needed to urgently apply for bail because of his heart disease.

The court heard that Nair was currently on a heart transplant list.

"He is seeing a private cardiologist. He needs to see his doctor who knows his medical history," said Gounden.

Bhartu said she wanted Nair to be referred for mental observation because she had received three affidavits from Nair's ex-wife and his two brothers who were concerned that he was not mentally well.

Mental observation

She said the State wanted to test if Nair was capable of understanding the proceedings before he could apply for bail.

"It will be a futile exercise to continue with the bail application, despite the affidavits from the accused's family," said Bhartu. She submitted that the court needed to be guided by expert evidence on whether Nair was fit to follow court proceedings.

Gounden had implied that the court needed to reject the affidavits of Nair's "estranged wife" and his "alcoholic" brothers "who belonged to Alcoholics Anonymous".

Magistrate Ncumisa Gcolotela granted the State permission to proceed with their application for Nair to be sent for mental observation.

Bhartu has read an affidavit from Vasanthi Nair, Nair's ex-wife who stays in Johannesburg.

Gounden objected to the affidavit, saying it was not an original statement since it was emailed to the investigating officer.

Nair, who seemed relaxed, told the media during an adjournment that he was mentally fit.

The matter has been adjourned to October 1 for further evidence. Nair will remain in custody until then.

WATCH: Kessie Nair apologises for calling President Ramaphosa the k-word

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