Lopsided Scales Of Justice

The inordinate R500,000 fine imposed by the Equality Court for the use of the k-word and the circumstances in which that heresy was uttered (The Mercury, May 14) calls to mind the lopsided way in which racially derogatory remarks are officially appraised.

In the case concerning Mr Ackerman, his accusers waited nearly two years before they approached the Equality Court about his use of the K-word in private conversations with them. The lapse in time is interesting because it appears that during that period, the business relationship of the accusers with Mr Ackerman had soured.

That raises the question of motive on the part of his accusers. If they were so galled by Ackerman’s use of the k-word, why did they wait so long to report it? Their claim that they are affronted by the calibre of someone who uses such language, is therefore disingenuous.

Be that as it may, what needs to be considered in this case is the distinction between using the K-word in private and publicly calling for the slaughter of whites. At a rally in November 2016, Julius Malema declared that, at some future point, white people should be slaughtered. No charges, no fines, and no racial sensitivity education were imposed on him by the Human Rights Commission.

There are two conclusions to be drawn from these comparisons: use of the K-word in private, without any intention to incite violence, is infinitely more punishable than publicly declared intentions of genocide. As a result, the lopsided scales of justice as dispensed by HRC and the Equality Court cast doubt on the conditions applicable to freedom of expression in the Bill of Rights.

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