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‘Racists & hate speech offenders must face hefty penalties’

A CT law professor says the criteria to Crimen Injuria needs to be intensified.

Nicole de Klerk allegedly called guests the ‘k’ word after she was apparently refused a chair. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town public law professor believes hate speech offenders and those found guilty of racist behaviour must face hefty penalties.

The University of Cape Town (UCT)'s Professor Hugh Corder says criminalising such behaviour could lead to imprisonment, correctional supervision or a fine.

The call follows a spate of racist posts to social media platforms Twitter and Facebook in the past few weeks.

Corder says the criteria to Crimen Injuria needs to be intensified.

"We may well have reached the stage at which we've got to at least have the potential of clamping down on those more strongly in their inanity."

But he says suggested jail time is not without its challenges.

"Whether criminal law is the way to go is a problematic issue because it could drive existing racist speech under over. We need proper, decent, rational debate, not the kind declamatory rhetoric that we see in under 140 characters on Twitter."

RACIST INCIDENTS

In the most recent racially charged incident, a Cape Town attorney has laid criminal charges against a woman who called him and his friends the k-word over the weekend.

Yamkela Ntola, a second-year candidate attorney at Cullinan and Associates, opened the case against Nicole de Klerk on Sunday.

On Saturday, de Klerk called Ntola and other professionals at the Queen's Plate horse racing event, the k-word repeatedly.

She later apologised on Twitter, saying she's embarrassed by what she'd said.

This is the latest in a string of racist comments made over the past few weeks.

In the first incident, Durban estate agent Penny Sparrow had called black beachgoers monkeys via a Facebook post.

Dear #PennySparrow If you can't stand "monkeys" then Africa is a wrong continent for you. #RacistsMustFall pic.twitter.com/2bPWwW8OKj

Sparrow now faces criminal charges and will also have to answer to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

Standard Bank employee Chris Hart has been suspended following a tweet over victims of apartheid.

More than 25 years after Apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities….

Government official Velaphi Khumalo expressed his hatred towards white people, saying that black people should do to white people 'what Hitler did to Jews'.

#VelaphiKhumalo suspended & charged with Hate Speech by Dept Sports, Art, Culture & Recreation. All #RacismMustFall pic.twitter.com/mNVWvMSVnp