Durban - Penny Sparrow, who gained nation-wide notoriety for making a racist rant against black people in a Facebook post died from colon cancer at a hospital south of Durban on Thursday.
A close friend of the family Louisa Moolman confirmed that Sparrow had died at the Kingsway Hospital in the early hours of the morning.
Messages of her death had been circulated on social media WhatsApp groups in the Park Rynie and Scottburgh area where she resided and also assisted in managing a landscaping business.
Sparrow, a former KwaZulu-Natal estate agent, was convicted in the Scottburgh Magistrate’s Court for crimen injuria in relation to racist comments that she made in 2016 comparing black people at the beach to monkeys.
Reacting to the news of her death on Facebook Simone Durocher-Yvon said, "Sad, sad that our justice system decided that prison was the only way for her. Instead of getting to the bottom of her thoughts and try and rehabilitate her thoughts. And I can assure you, if they took the time to try and help her, let her meet some of the people she insulted, she would've realised the hurt she caused. She's at peace now."
Magistrate Vincent Hlatshway handed Sparrow a R5 000 fine, or 12 months imprisonment.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said that Sparrow was sentenced to an additional two years, which was wholly suspended for five years, during which time she must not be convicted of crimen injuria.
She was also ordered to make a public apology for her remarks over the social media platform Facebook – the very platform over which she vented her rage against black South Africans, referring to them as “monkeys”, who if allowed loose on the country’s beaches, would cause “huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others”.
Sparrow was convicted following her own guilty plea.
The charge against Sparrow was brought by DA member and Black Like Me founder Herman Mashaba.
In June 2016, Equality Court Magistrate Irfaan Khalil ruled that Sparrow had to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Trust to atone for her posting.