Phumlani Mfeka

Durban - The two men convicted of inciting racial hatred against Indian South Africans have been ordered to pay R42 000 to an orphanage by the Equality Court.

In April, Magistrate John Sanders found Phumlani Mfeka and Zweli Sangweni of the Mazibuye African Forum guilty of hate speech for comments made in news articles and interviews in 2013/14.

The South African Human Rights Commission and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation filed complaints against them for labelling Mahatma Gandhi a racist, claiming Indians had enslaved Africans, and the use of the “C-word” in a Mazibuye newsletter.

Sanders had found that Mfeka and Sangweni had not shown remorse for their comments although the case had taken so long in court.

The court found that the applicants had succeeded in proving that an open letter, written by Mfeka and published in a local newspaper in May 2013 titled “Newcastle Mayor lays complaint after ‘Gupta slur’”, contained hate speech based on race targeting the Indian community.

Following the judgement, Sanders had requested that in the “interest of justice and equity” he wanted to afford the legal representatives of the parties an opportunity to address him before any sanction and/or sanctions is/are imposed in the matter.

Sanders said on Monday that the court accepted that Mfeka and Sangweni were not financially well off and that they were unable to secure the services of a counsel to represent them due to financial constraints.

Sanders said it was highly improbable that they have some independent source of income which they have chosen to divulge to the court.

“What I do not accept is the notion that the respondents are men of straw. Who are totally dependent on the largess on their families for their survival. They are self-confessed activists who travel all over the city and the province, engaged in activities. The notion that they rely on their families generosity is highly improbable," he said.

He, however, ordered them to pay R42 000 to Isibani Sethemba an orphanage in Kwavuma in northern KZN as the chosen beneficiary, in three instalments of R14 000 from August 31.

Daily News