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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

SAHRC: The ‘K’ Word Is Unacceptable In Any Context

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Friday, 9 June 2017

The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission) welcomes the Randburg Equality Court’s judgment, handed down on 8 June 2017, in the matter of Mkhondo & SAHRC v Vicky Momberg.  The Court has found Ms Momberg guilty of hate speech in terms of Section 10 of the Equality Act, and further found that Constable Mkhondo’s right to human dignity were infringed upon.
The matter arose following an alleged unprovoked tirade of racial abuse directed at Constable Mkhondo, following a smash-and-grab incident in February 2016.  The incident was filmed and shared on social media.  Constable Mkhondo laid a charge of crimen injuria against Ms Momberg and also lodged a complaint of hate speech with the South African Human Rights Commission on 16 February 2016.  The SAHRC approached the Court as a second applicant in the matter.

The Commission is of the view that there can never be any context in which the use of the k-word is acceptable.   Violations of the right to equality are the number one human rights violation reported to the SAHRC.  During 2015/2016 the Commission saw a significant increase in the number of complaints of racial discrimination.  Of the 749 equality related complaints received, 505 were on the basis of racial discrimination, many involving the use of hateful epithets
The Court has thus ordered that Ms Momberg to issue an unconditional apology via social media within five days of the court order, that she perform community service for a period of not less than 100 hours, and that she attend equality sensitivity training, The Court further awarded monetary damages Ms Momberg for Constable Mkhondo’s emotional suffering.

The Commission is deeply concerned by the fact that violations of the right to equality and specifically hate speech based on race, occur so routinely amongst South Africans.  The Commission welcomes the judgment and commends the court for including equality sensitivity training, underscoring the fact that we are all bearers of our constitutional obligations on the rights to dignity and equality.  

Ends

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission.

Gail Smith – Spokesperson Tel: 0609883792 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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About us

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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