South Africa: The Ernst Roets Judgment Demonstrates Why Transformative Justice Is Sorely Needed


For it to be successful in helping South Africa combat racism and associated crimes, the Equality Court must be transformative in its adjudication of cases.

In a previous article in Daily Maverick titled, "Yes, Mr Roets, you did just commit hate speech", I took issue with the academic freedom claim by AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets for his gratuitous tweet of the old South African flag. He wanted to know if he had committed hate speech, and I thought so then and still hold a view that he committed hate speech.

I was careful not to address the issue from the perspective of contempt of court because of its possible deficit in meeting the requirements of the common law crime of contempt. This has been confirmed by the Equality Court sitting in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday 17 September 2019 when Judge Colin Lamont found no commission of contempt of court. Clearly the second round was won by Roets.

But it is, in my view, a superficial win that should not be celebrated, particularly after the judge said Roets may in due course be held to have breached the provisions of the Equality Court Act. Of course,...

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