Accusations of 'abusive delays' stall Chinese hate speech case
Johannesburg - Legal wrangling in the alleged hate speech hearing labelling Chinese South Africans “vile barbarians” has further stalled the start of testimony as accusations of “abusive delays” continue to rage.
Speaking at the Equality Court sitting in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, Colin Garvey - who is representing Mariete van der Linde De Klerk, the eighth of 12 respondents - made submissions that the complainants were not ready to proceed based on what he felt was a failure to provide material evidence to the respondents in time.
The case follows a January 2017 Carte Blanche exposé showing the shocking killing of donkeys for their skins to be exported for the Chinese medicinal market.
After that report, a torrent of alleged hate speech comments were posted on the programme’s Facebook page, as well as that of the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary, which were deemed abusive by The Chinese Association (TCA).
“We need to get rid of Chinese in SA... they not welcome (sic). They steal our economy, dogs, rhinos and now donkeys. I think the same as the donkeys can be applied to our dogs and our pets,” is what Van der Linde De Klerk is alleged to have posted on Carte Blanche’s Facebook page.
Her lawyer, Garvey, said, however, that the TCA’s legal representatives had prejudiced his client by sending crucial information to them at late stages, including affidavits which were sent on Friday, just one working day before the hearing started.
“I submit that this matter, in terms of the (Equality Act), is not ready to proceed,” Garvey said.
But Faizel Ismail, on behalf of the TCA, said Garvey was perpetuating “abusive delays” because the complainants had corresponded with the respondents on time.
Ismail said that, for example, documents that were asked for by the respondents in November and sent to them were requested again in February in what he felt were deliberate delays in a “Stalingrad-type operation”.
“They are trying to deny the complainants’ day in court, for which they waited two years,” Ismail asserted.
Judge Motsamai Makume said he would rule on the matter on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Tracy Terink, who called Chinese South Africans “despicable savages”, suffered a setback when her application to be excluded from the hearing was dismissed with costs.
Terink, the ninth respondent, confessed to her Facebook post, asking that the admission be accepted and judgment issued to her outside of the other respondents.
But Judge Makume dismissed this with costs, saying section 21 of the Equality Act stated that the court should hold an inquiry where evidence was heard before making a decision on guilt or innocence.