South Africa 5.12.2014 03:35 pm

Exclusive: Steve Hofmeyr and co’s legal troubles get even worse

FILE PICTURE: Steve Hofmeyr performs at the annual Afrikaans music festival on November 1, 2014 at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Alet Pretorius)

FILE PICTURE: Steve Hofmeyr performs at the annual Afrikaans music festival on November 1, 2014 at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Alet Pretorius)

A number of co-applicants are expected to file several inferences regarding racism, hate speech and apartheid denialism against activist Dan Roodt and Afrikaans singers Steve Hofmeyr and Sunette Bridges in the equality court early next year.

Plaintiff attorney Tracey Lomax said a claim was being formulated on behalf of a number of co-plaintiffs that would detail incidents including sexism, homophobia and incitement to violence against Hofmeyr, Bridges and Roodt.

The former pair fronted the Red October protest in 2013. Red October is a “movement dedicated to raising awareness about the inhumane slaughter and oppression of the White Ethnic Minority in South Africa”, its website says.

Roodt is the owner of the controversial Afrikaans rights website “Praag”.

Lomax said the dossier was being compiled of “any online publications by them, be it in the form of a blog post, a tweet or a Facebook post, as well as anything said publicly”.

The team would go back as far as the launch of the Red October march in 2013, which will also form part of the application on the basis that Bridges and Hofmeyr said a white genocide at the hands of blacks was underway.

The co-plaintiffs will argue this is incorrect, unfounded and tantamount to hate speech. Lomax said the purpose was to obtain an order which upholds the spirit of section 16 of the constitution.

The section states that all in South Africa have the right to freedom of expression, but not when it extends to propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence or advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion.

“We hope that the court will declare these utterances to be in conflict with the tenets of the Equality Act and the Constitution…”

Lomax added that after 20 years of democracy, South Africa was still battling to overcome centuries of division, distrust and inability to communicate.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it had not received any complaints about Hofmeyr this year, but that it did reject a complaint for Bridges and Hofmeyr over the murder of white women.

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said Bridges currently faces the equality court for allegations that the singer facilitated and condoned the posting of racially motivated hate speech on her Facebook, and other electronic media pages, as she failed to take action against or remove offensive statements made by her followers and fans.

Bridges was served with papers earlier this year, and responded by questioning the jurisdiction of the Western Cape High Court to deal with the matter.

“The commission, based on a legal opinion obtained, contested that she should be held accountable for the statements of people who have made offensive postings, which amount to hate speech and incitement to violence against black people,” said Mangena.

Hofmeyr recently told The Citizen that he was not a racist, and that he did not make racial statements.

“I have no reputation for racist deeds nor have I ever been cited by the relevant official organs, nor public, colleagues or employees for racism,” said Hofmeyr.

“I do make racial observations that may offend some – even contestable statements, but I don’t fabricate.”

Background – The Steve Hofmeyr vs. Chester Missing saga

Recently, Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr made a number of statements on Twitter that caused major backlash from the online community.

One such tweet was: “Sorry to offend, but in my books blacks were the architects of apartheid. Go figure.”

This tweet was the catalyst for a month-long war of words between Hofmeyr – supported by Afrikaans activist Dan Roodt – and ventriloquist Conrad Koch and his puppet Chester Missing.

The Twitter war, or twar, took a break after Hofmeyr had an interim protection order granted against Koch.

Hofmeyr later told The Citizen the tweet was an observation about a period predating apartheid.

Earlier this month, at the Randburg Magsitrates’ Court, Roodt, who appeared on behalf of Hofmeyr, argued Koch’s campaign on social media amounted to harassment and was harming the singer financially, while Koch’s legal team said he had the right to call out racism – which amounted to protected speech.

Magistrate Naren Sewnarain found Hofmeyr exposed himself to criticism, satire and ridicule and was not satisfied Hofmeyr should be accorded the protection of the order.

He said the statements made by the Afrikaans singer were “racially provocative”.

The gag order was subsequently set aside and Roodt and Hofmeyr were ordered to pay Koch’s legal fees.

– Editor’s note: Due to the unacceptable nature of the comments on this post, commenting has been suspended. If you wish to comment on this article, please email letters@citizen.co.za. 

 

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