11 July 2019

Johannesburg - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is pushing for racism-accused Adam Catzavelos to pay a R200 000 fine for his alleged racist utterance.

However, the Joburg businessman is claiming he is broke.

Speaking outside the Randburg Magistrate’s court on Wednesday where Catzavelos appeared on crimen injuria charges, Buang Jones, the SAHRC’s Gauteng manager, said his team was considering cornering Catzavelos to settle out of court, but that this has not yet been proposed to the defence team.

Jones added that Catzavelos had asserted that he was experiencing financial trouble "but this is not corroborated by any form of proof; until there is such proof, we are not willing to accept any settlement proposal from him”.

Jones said on issues of common cause there was an agreement from both parties, as Catzavelos admitted that the video was discriminatory and amounted to hate speech.

The only disagreement is the amount of damages to be paid.

“They don’t want to pay any damages and our view is that damages serve as a deterrent,” he said.

Last month, the SAHRC compelled former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi to pay R200000 to a charity which encourages social cohesion. This was after Agrizzi admitted in court to have used the k-word in a recording that came up during his testimony at the state capture commission. He has since visited the Alexandra-based charity.

Catzavelos’s finances are likely to be part of the court process.

Following the circulation of the “racist” video he shot while on holiday in Greece last year, his “embarrassed” family immediately released a statement declaring that they had cut him off from the family business.

Later, the family denied claims of rebranding their former restaurant in Braamfontein and keeping Catzavelos in the family business.

The EFF’s Gauteng chairperson, Mandisa Mashego, said that they would not accept any form of settlement, as they sought to have racism criminalised.

“Adam Catzavelos’s case is a criminal case, meaning he will face the Equality Court which has its own set of limitations in terms of what it can rule on and the kind of sentencing it can impose.

“But the criminal case, which is what the EFF has pursued, is different because it can convict, (impose) a sentence, and issue a fine. The biggest success for us would be a criminal conviction.”

Source: The Star