Slade vows to fight on

Racist guest house owner un­bowed

The Star Late Edition - - METRO - THAMI MAGUBANE [email protected]

THE owner of the guest lodge who was found guilty of racism and hate speech re­mains un­re­pen­tant and has vowed to take his fight all the way to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court fol­low­ing a scathing judg­ment that de­scribed him as a racist.

An­dré Slade, the for­mer owner of the Sod­wana Bay Guest House, said he was the vic­tim of hate speech and racism af­ter he was la­belled a racist by MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Tourism Sihle Zikalala.

Slade caused out­rage af­ter mak­ing in­cen­di­ary re­marks about black peo­ple, stat­ing they were in­fe­rior to whites, re­spon­si­ble for the high crime rate and that they were meant to be ser­vants. He also banned gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from book­ing into his lodge.

In a brief phone in­ter­view with The Star’s sis­ter news­pa­per The Mer­cury, laced with wild state­ments about God and science, he said he would take his fight to the apex court as his con­sti­tu­tional rights, in­clud­ing free­dom of as­so­ci­a­tion, had been vi­o­lated.

He said there was noth­ing wrong with his re­marks, and that they were just facts of bi­ol­ogy: that black and white peo­ple were dif­fer­ent. He added that it was his right not to al­low peo­ple who did not fit his pref­er­ence at his es­tab­lish­ment.

“If some­one has a doggy par­lour, you can­not take a cat there, that is for dogs,” he said.

“We want this case brought to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court quickly so the mat­ter can be fi­nalised as soon as pos­si­ble. We have suf­fered be­cause of this; we have not had an in­come in more than two years,” he said.

Two judges at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Dur­ban, Judge Es­ther Steyn, with Judge Jo­han Ploos van Am­s­tel, re­cently con­firmed a judg­ment against Slade that was handed down by Um­bombo Equal­ity Court mag­is­trate Tamo Moodley in Fe­bru­ary this year.

He found that Slade’s speech amounted to dis­crim­i­na­tion on the grounds of race, and Slade was fined R50 000.

Among Slade’s grounds for a re­view was his claim that the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer had ig­nored his right to free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

“The judg­ment shows that the court was alive to the right of ex­pres­sion and the lim­i­ta­tions thereof,” said the two judges in their con­fir­ma­tion.

They added: “If such free­dom of ex­pres­sion in­cites vi­o­lence or ha­tred and is based on, among other things, race and re­li­gion, and which in­cites harm, then he is de­prived of the pro­tec­tion.”

The judges con­curred that by not re­gard­ing blacks as hu­man be­ings but as an­i­mals, Slade had stripped them of their dig­nity, which they said was a con­tra­ven­tion of sec­tion 10 of the Equal­ity Act as it amounted to hate speech.

They also con­firmed that Slade’s con­duct con­sti­tuted un­fair dis­crim­i­na­tion on the grounds of race, hate speech and im­pair­ment to the hu­man dig­nity of blacks and gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees.

Zikalala, who had laid charges im­me­di­ately af­ter the re­marks were first made, wel­comed the find­ings:

“This is why this court judg­ment is crit­i­cal to us, as it sends out a strong mes­sage that KwaZu­luNatal, and South Africa in par­tic­u­lar, has no place for peo­ple who want to take us back to a pe­riod where cer­tain recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties and ameni­ties were the pre­serve of a cer­tain race, to the detri­ment of oth­ers,” Zikalala said.

SOD­WANA Bay guest house owner An­dré Slade.

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