DURBAN: A threat to kill all Indian South Africans has emerged as President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, faces a R100 000 fine for hate speech comments against former finance and tourism ministers Pravin Gordhan and Derek Hanekom.
The SA Human Rights Commission asked the Durban Equality Court to find Zuma guilty of hate speech for what he said in an open letter to the two last year.
The commission chairperson, Prof Bongani Majola, said the application was made in the public interest as hate speech incidents had risen in recent years.
Majola said statements by Mazibuye African Forum members last year amounted to inciting genocide.
Members Zweli Sangweni and Phumlani Mfeka allegedly stated in newsletters that Indians, including Mahatma Gandhi, had exploited Africans.
Edward Zuma has since apologised in writing to the ANC, saying: “It was never my intention to offend anyone by expressing my views of the current political landscape; hence I withdraw the words that might have caused this and wish to plead for forgiveness from the ANC on that.”
But Majola said the commission was unmoved by the apology and wanted Zuma to atone by paying R100000 to an appropriate NGO.
“The phenomenon of hate speech appears to be gaining momentum and threatens to undermine the rule of law and respect for basic human rights in South Africa,” Majola said.
On Friday, a screenshot of an alleged hate speech comment was re-posted publicly on Facebook by Manosh Seetharam.
In the screenshot, a comment by Facebook user Maureen Moitshepi Motsomi reads: “I can[’t] stand [Indians] period, if I was [a] serial killer there won’t be a trace of an Indian in SA.”
Questioned by another social media user who asked if she was racist, Motsomi said: “Nope, [it’s] just a comment.”
The post has been shared at least 200 times with many calling for action against Motsomi.
Motsomi did not respond to a message for comment.
Meanwhile, Ashwin Trikamjee, head of the SA Hindu Maha Sabha, said he had reported the matter to Facebook.
Trikamjee was alerted to the post, which has since spread across social media, late on Thursday.
He said: “This nonsense is uncalled for. We should be united, given all the problems we face as a nation. These comments are a manifestation of frustration and highly emotional.”