The man, Lourens Prinsloo, was involved in an argument with three women over parking at the Vergeet-My-Nie female residence at the University of the Free State.
Prinsloo used the words “Julle fucking kaffirs” during the argument with a woman and her two daughters.
He was convicted on two counts of crimen injuria and one of assault in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in January 2012.
The magistrate sentenced Prinsloo to a fine of R6000 or 12 months’ imprisonment, which was suspended for five years with conditions.
He appealed his conviction to the Free State High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
But the SCA, in a unanimous judgment by three judges agreed with the magistrate that Prinsloo behaved in a high-handed and cantankerous manner and that he had uttered the words attributed to him.
“The word kaffir is racially abusive and offensive and was used in its injurious sense,” the judgment reads.
The judges held it was an unlawful aggression on the three womens’ dignity.
“It is trite that in this country, its use is not only prohibited but is actionable as well. In our racist past it was used to hurt, humiliate, denigrate and dehumanise Africans. This obnoxious word caused untold sorrow and pain to the feelings and dignity of the African people of this country.”
According to the judgment Prinsloo could not claim he did not know the use of such a word was offensive and injurious to the complainants.
The SCA agreed with the magistrate that Prinsloo’s conduct sought to negate the efforts made to break from the past and had no place in the country.