The defence in the case against a Gauteng government official who called for the persecution of white people has told the Equality Court that their client has fully accepted that what he did was wrong.
The case is being heard in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. In 2016, Velaphi Khumalo who is an employee of the Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture posted on his Facebook page: ‘I want to cleanse this country of all white people. We must act as Hitler did to the Jews. I don’t believe any more that there is a large number of not so racist white people. I’m starting to be sceptical even of those within our movement of the ANC.’
He reached a settlement with the ANC and agreed to pay a R30 000 fine and also issued an apology to the party.
The South African Human Rights Commission has approached the court, seeking to obtain an order directing Khumalo to issue an unconditional public apology to all South Africans and to pay a R150 000 fine.
Counsel for the commission, Advocate Mark Oppenheimer told the court that Khumalo’s comments constituted a grave form of hate speech and amounted to genocide on the grounds of race. Oppenheimer told Judge Roland Sutherland that the previous apology that Khumalo issued was to the ANC and the provincial government.
Counsel for Khumalo, Advocate Stuart Wilson told the court that his client had fully accepted that his remarks were hurtful and said he had made numerous apologies. He said Khumalo was already subjected to an internal disciplinary hearing by his employer. Wilson also told the court to remember the context in which the comments were made. He said Khumalo was responding to comments made by Penny Sparrow on Facebook, referring to black people as monkeys in a complaint over litter left on a Durban beach.
Wilson argued that with his comments, Khumalo wanted to shock and shame the likes of Sparrow and her friends.
The trial continues.