Quote of the week

The unhappy fact that it is journalists, investigating organs of state and officialdom and the political class and their involvement in corrupt practices to loot the State’s resources, who, by so doing, attract the attention of powerful and influential persons who are capable of suborning the apparatus of the State to smell out their adversaries, cannot be ignored. The examples of abuse of the system have been addressed elsewhere in this judgment. Moreover, the respondents’ perspectives assume that the designated judge is not lied to and is diligent… In my view, in the absence of a rebuttal, this example illustrates a grave vulnerability in RJCA that such an apparent abuse could occur. The common cause examples of blatant lies being told to the designated judge further exacerbates the vulnerability of the system.

Sutherland J
Amabhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others
1 June 2011

Equality Court Judgement against Jon Qwelane

IN THE EQUALITY COURT OF JOHANNESBURG

HELD AT THE JOHANNESBURG MAGISTRATE’S COURT

CASE NUMBER: 44/EQ JHB

IN THE MATTER BETWEEN:

SOUTH AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISION COMPLAINANT

AND

JON QWULANE RESPONDENT

JUDGMENT

1. This is an application for judgment by default in terms of Rule 32 of Act 32 of 1944. The court finds that there has been proper service on the respondent. The respondent was not in attendance at court. The complainant relied on the founding affidavit and argued the matter.

2. The complaint is undefended. The respondent has filed no papers. In the circumstances there is only one version before court. It is that of the complainant. The court is not going to repeat the argument presented as it already forms part of the record. This argument is accepted.

3. In the totality of the submissions tendered by the complainant the court finds the following:

3.1 The complainant has the necessary locus standi to institute these proceedings.

3.2 This court has the necessary jurisdiction to adjudicate this matter.

3.3 The contents of the article and cartoon amount to hate speech (see here).

3.4 The article and cartoon propagates hatred and harm against homosexuals. Homosexuals as represented by the complainant have suffered emotional pain and suffering as a result of the action of the respondent.

4. The court therefore grants judgment in favour of the complainant as follows:

4.1 The respondent is ordered to make an unconditional apology to the gay and lesbian community. Such apology is to be published in the Sunday Sun as well as one other national newspaper.

4.2 Damages in an amount of RI 00 000-00 is granted. Such amount is to be paid to the complainant and to be used to promote and raise awareness regarding the rights of gays and lesbians.

4.3 No costs are ordered.

DATED AT JOHANNESBURG THIS THE 31ST DAY OF MAY 2011.

NM KARIKAN ADDITIONAL MAGISTRATE (EQUALITY COURT) JOHANNESBIRG

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