Johannesburg - Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr tweeted on Thursday that the setting aside of an interim protection order against puppeteer Conrad Koch in the Randburg Magistrate's Court signalled the end of freedom of expression.
“Die einde van Vryheid van Uitdrukking. Die media is darem volgende” 1/8The end of freedom of expression. The media is next at least 3/8, Hofmeyr tweeted.
The case turned on an interim order Hofmeyr secured on November 10 after Koch responded on Twitter, through his puppet 'Chester Missing', to one of Hofmeyr's tweets.
Hofmeyr said in a tweet on October 23: “Sorry to offend but in my books blacks were the architects of apartheid. Go figure.”
In response, Koch penned a column published by The Times titled “Dear white supremacists...” and asked why sponsors associated with Hofmeyr, such as Land Rover and Pick n Pay, were still sponsoring him.
The order had prevented Koch from threatening, harassing, or making defamatory statements against Hofmeyr. He was also not allowed to tag him on social media websites like Twitter or mention him in television and radio interviews.
While live tweeting was banned in court, Hofmeyr, who was attending a series of concerts in Cape Town, took to Twitter.
“Hierdie magistraat het vroeg al kant gekies. Ons weet. Hy verbied Twitter en kla dat ons Koch snoer. NIKS oor teistering. #laeverwagtinge,” Hofmeyr tweeted after magistrate Naren Sewnarain banned live tweeting and boradcasts from the court room.
A few minutes later Hofmeyr, who is vehemently pro-Afrikaans, tweeted a translated English version of the tweet.
“Magistrate picked sides early.He gags the court then asks why we want to gag Koch who gets sponsors to gag me. #lowexpectations.”
Still taking a jab at the magistrate's ruling, Hofmeyr tweeted: “Harassment victims will surely be discouraged by courts if 'in camera' meant journos running in and out the hall to tweet.”
His tweets also took on a more controversial form on Thursday.
“Om teen Apartheid (in sy geheel) te wees is om VIR meer verkragtings teen wit vroue te wees. Ek is teen MR skendings” (To be against apartheid (in its totality), is to be FOR more rapes of white women. I am against human rights violations).
With this, he included a photo of a Statistics SA table from 1998 citing the race of perpetrators of female homicides.
Ventriloquist Koch arrived at court on Thursday with his puppet and soon had the media giggling with his sharp quips.
Not to be outdone by all the media attention Hofmeyr tweeted, “Ek dog EK doen dié dinge VIR my loopbaan... (I thought I did these things FOR my career).
He included a picture of Koch and Missing surrounded by media.
“Dan noem hulle Koch die 'little man'.Arme underdog met vol media aan sy sy,” (Then they call Koch the 'little man'. Poor underdog with the full media on his side), he tweeted a few hours later.
Earlier in the day he wished his representative, Daniel Roodt, luck. Roodt is not a lawyer.
“Sterkte (at)danroodt. Onthou, ons kan nie eintlik verloor nie. Ons plan B is te goed” (Strength (at)danroodt. Remember, we can't actually lose. Our plan B is too good).