Hate speech accused Adam Catzavelos was trying to settle his Human Rights Commission of South Africa (HRCSA) case out of court, acting head of legal services at HRCSA Buang Jones revealed yesterday.
“They submit Mr Catzavelos is willing to undergo sensitivity training and to undergo some form of community service for the conduct he is accused of,” Jones said.
“In the answering affidavit, he does admit the claim we are making (about) his conduct does amount to hate speech. However, as the commission we are of the view the minimum amount for hate speech cases should be R200,000 and we won’t settle for anything less, given the seriousness of this matter and how serious the scourge of racism is in South Africa.”
Jones said the HRCSA was not considering settling the matter.
“We want the court to rule on this matter, because we cannot agree on damages,” said Jones. “Mr Catzavelos asserts he does not have money, he is experiencing financial challenges, but this is not corroborated by any form of proof. And until there is such proof, we are not willing to entertain any settlement proposal from him.”
Jones said there was common ground between the two sides, including that Catzavelos had agreed the offending video had been disseminated, it was discriminatory and it amounted to hate speech.
The disagreement was on the amount of money to be paid for damages caused.
The HRCSA action is one of three Catzavelos faced following his video which hit South Africa from a beach in Greece late last year.
“Blue skies, beautiful day, amazing sea, and not one k*****r in sight,” Catzavelos said in his “weather report” while he filmed himself. “F*****g heaven on earth. You (pause) cannot beat this. You cannot beat this.”
At his June court appearance in the criminal matter brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters, Catzavelos said he had a “moment of madness” and was “completely embarrassed and utterly ashamed”.
Catzavelos said then he was sorry to anyone he had upset and dignity he had harmed.
However, it was revealed in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday he had made a 68-page representation to the court.
Prosecutor Dinesh Nandkissor told Magistrate Hleziphe Mkhasibe he had only received the representation last Friday and still had to peruse it before submitting a report to accompany it when it was sent to the Gauteng director of public prosecutions (DPP) for a decision.
Mkhasibe remanded the matter to August 29 for the outcome of the DPP’s decision.
Afterwards, attorney Lawley Shein, acting for Catzavelos, said the matter in which Catzavelos had been charged by Athens authorities in Greece had initially been postponed due to elections in that country.
Shein said his client was wanted for disseminating material on the internet which “incited, provoked, excited or encouraged acts or actions which may cause discrimination, hatred or violence against the person or the group of persons identified by race, colour, religion, genealogy, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner which endangers public order or threatens the lives, freedom or physical integrity of such persons”.