Johannesburg - “Hello, this is Steve Hofmeyr speaking.”
This is how the most famous ventriloquist on the continent, Conrad Koch, answers his phone these days.
Koch sounds elated when he picks up the phone – and why wouldn’t he be?
His sidekick, Chester Missing, has just become the first puppet in history to win a court case.
“It means we are a much freer country now,” Koch says joyously, referring to his victory over Afrikaans musician Steve Hofmeyr.
The Randburg Magistrate’s Court ruled on Thursday that Koch could tweet about Hofmeyr.
It set aside an interim protection order secured by the singer against Koch.
Earlier this month, Hofmeyr accused black people of being the architects of apartheid.
In response, Koch called on his sponsors to cancel their contracts with Hofmeyr.
The Afrikaans singer obtained the interim protection order on November 5, interdicting Koch from harassing or threatening him and making defamatory remarks against him, among other things.
Hofmeyr hired Afrikaner activist Dan Roodt to represent him in court on Thursday. However, Roodt failed in his bid to secure a final protection order against Koch to stop him “harassing” Hofmeyr.
The court also ordered Hofmeyr and his representative to pay costs for Koch’s advocate and those of the application.
It wasn’t long after the ruling had been handed out in court that the Koch and his puppet reignited the Twitter battle with Hofmeyr.
Koch, on his Chester Missing Twitter account, tweeted: “Racistboy @steve_hofmeyr, it’s NOT the ANC/EFF/DA that used courts to try and silence me. It was YOU, a coward and bigot.”
This tweet followed a number of others by Koch directed at Hofmeyr, among them: “If you want to get into a debate about apartheid denial, don’t expect people to play by your rules.”
Koch says although the interim protection order has been set aside, he has decided he will no longer tweet the Afrikaans singer.
“I have nothing more to say to him,” Koch told the Saturday Star.
“I have expressed and said what I have wanted to, and that’s it from me now.”
Koch added that Hofmeyr had yet to respond to any of the tweets he had sent to the Afrikaans musician since Thursday.
Hofmeyr, however, did take to Twitter to express his dismay at Thursday’s verdict.
The Afrikaans singer, who was not in court, tweeted that he accepted the court’s decision, but this tweet was followed by another that said: “Magistrate picked sides early. He gags the court then asks why we want to gag Koch who gets sponsors to gag me. #lowexpectations.”
Hofmeyr further tweeted: “Can’t say what I think. Can’t say what I see. Can’t rely on court for protection. That’s where I stand.”
Missing then responded to Hofmeyr’s tweet, saying: “U can say what u think and we can nail u, racistboy.”
Hofmeyr’s representative, Roodt, joined in the Twitter debate, claiming Koch was promoting violence against the Afrikaans community.
Roodt posted a picture showing the scene of the bomb blasts in which five Afrikaners died at the Sanlam shopping centre in Amanzimtoti in 1985, and tweeted to Koch, saying: “This is YOUR violence and the sick, hate-filled ideology you are propagating. Evidence attached.”
This is not the first time Hofmeyr has been in the spotlight for his apparent racism and supposed white supremist attitude.
Earlier this year, he was criticised for singing the old South African anthem at an Afrikaans club in Australia.
In 2012, the singer made death threats on Twitter against comedian John Vlismas.
In 2011, Hofmeyr released lyrics from a song that included the word “k*****”.
The song, Ons Sal Dit Oorleef (We Will Survive It), is understood to be dedicated to the leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, Eugene Terre’Blanche, who was murdered on his farm in 2010.
Steve Hofmeyr reaction tweets:
“Do you know who has been called racist just this year?? Where are the courts? “
“Amazed. No-one sees that my case was about harassment (which was never mentioned) . Not Racism (which was never proved) .
“My comments are a symptom of a country that was never united.”
Chester Missing reaction tweets: “Hey @steve_hofmeyr u gonna sue @TimeLIVE for this defamation? Please send @danroodt and his ninja skills.” (Koch referring to a newspaper poster published by The Times that read: “Puppet Wallops Muppet).