South Africa: Adam Catzavelos Yet to Find Lawyer

Photo: Twitter
Video screenshot of Adam Catzavelos who caused outrage after a video of him using a racial slur went viral in 2018.

Adam Catzavelos, the man who caused an uproar in 2018 after a video emerged of him using the k-word while on holiday in Greece, is yet to find a lawyer to represent him in court.

Catzavelos, 40, told the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday that he would be getting his own attorney and would not need a representative from legal aid.

He faces a charge of crimen injuria for the words he used in his video.

The matter was postponed to June 13, to allow him to obtain a legal representative.

Dressed in black blazer with a scarf around his neck, Catzavelos appeared to be calm, collected and unapologetic. When journalists asked how he felt, shortly before proceedings, he replied: "Don't know a word to explain it."

This was before a person with him advised him to step out and not speak to the media.

Catzavelos was on holiday in Greece last year when he recorded a video of himself on a beach making racist comments.

In the video, he records himself saying: "Not one k****r in sight, fucking heaven on earth... You cannot beat this!"

Speaking to the media outside court, Gauteng National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, said the prosecutor handling the case was well aware that the issue of jurisdiction would come up during the course of the trial and had prepared an argument that is yet to be heard in court.

"Firstly, what informs a prosecutor whether or not a matter should be placed on the roll, is we first have to detect if there are prospects of a successful prosecution. Now that has been done, the issue of jurisdiction is a matter that will be ventilated in court," she said.

While Catzavelos was appearing on criminal charges, the South African Human Rights Commission was also bringing its own case against him in the Equality Court.

SAHRC Gauteng manager Buang Jones said they were asking the court to declare Catzavelos' comments hate speech, and to fine him.

"Equality courts were established to assist victims of unfair discrimination. This is the most underutilised court in the republic... " Jones said.

He said the commission had also considered the issue of jurisdiction, which may be raised by Catzavelos' legal team.

"We are ready and we will make our own submission concerning why we think that this court is best placed to adjudicate over this matter," he said.

Jones added that hate speech did not need to be directed at a specific person, but also a group.

In this instance, the "k-word", given the apartheid history of South Africa, was demeaning to black people, he added.

"Courts in South Africa, including the Constitutional Court, have pronounced on this matter. We find this unbecoming and hope the court will send a clear message to deter other people from making similar racial slurs," said Jonas.

The Equality Court is yet to set a date for a pre-trial in the matter.

Source: News24

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