SA Chinese community wins hate speech case

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  • The Equality Court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of the Chinese Association on Thursday.
  • The association had lodged an application against 12 respondents after they posted a series of emotionally charged comments on social media.
  • The court ordered them to apologise and pay damages.

The Chinese Association (TCA) on Thursday emerged victorious in the Equality Court in Johannesburg after a five-year legal battle about posts on social media.

The association had lodged an application against 12 respondents after they posted a series of emotionally charged comments on the Facebook pages of the investigative television show Carte Blanche and the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary.

Carte Blanche broadcast an investigative insert on the treatment of donkeys in early 2017.

Some of the comments were that Chinese people should be "wipe[d] out" and that "we should start killing their children", News24 previously reported.

The association said the comments, which suggested that Chinese people were "not human", "vile", and "barbaric", were hurtful.

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The respondents were David Clive Horne, Regina Richardson, Cynthia le Roux, Dawn Reeve, Ryan van der Walt, Shana Markram, Alice Henning, Anja Lock, Joy Termorshuizen, Tracy Terick, Lana Berger, and Mariette van der Linde de Klerk.

According to the Daily Maverick, of the 12, one person could not be located.

On Thursday, the Equality Court ordered the respondents to apologise and pay damages.

TimesLive reported that most of the respondents were ordered to pay R50 000.

Van der Linde de Klerk, who opposed the application, was ordered to pay R150 000.

Should they fail to pay the amount, they could perform an alternative course of community service, the publication reported.

According to the Daily Maverick, the matter against David Clive Horne was dismissed with costs.

He said his comments were not directed at the Chinese people as a whole but at the "gangs killing the donkeys", the publication reported.

In a statement, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) congratulated the association on the successful outcome.

The organisation said:

The SAJBD welcomes this important judgment, which represents another significant advance in the ongoing fight against racist hate speech and unfair discrimination in South Africa.

"As with the recently concluded [Jon] Qwelane and [Bongani] Masuku cases, our courts have sent out an unequivocal message that hate speech on the basis of people's intrinsic identity, whether this concerns race, ethnicity, religion or other grounds, will not be tolerated in our country.

"The SAJBD applauds the Chinese Association on taking up this important matter and on pursuing it through to a successful conclusion."

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