South Africa: South African court sentences woman who sparked racial row

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – A Durban real estate agent who sparked a nationwide outcry by labelling black people as monkeys was convicted and sentenced by a magistrate’s court on Monday after pleading guilty.

Penny Sparrow made the racial slur in a Facebook post in January while complaining about the litter on Durban’s beaches over the New Year weekend.

The ruling African National Congress responded by saying: “We can no longer as a nation tolerate such dehumanising violations, where the black majority are treated as subhumans and are referred to as monkeys, baboons and other derogatory racist epithets in the land of their birth.”

Sparrow who received death threats over her post, immediately apologised, saying: “I made the mistake of comparing black people with monkeys. Monkeys are cute and they’re naughty, but they (black people) don’t see it that way". She added that she was born in East Africa “and raised by blacks” so she had nothing against them.

On Monday, she was fined US$700 and two years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years. She was unable to pay the full amount, and the court agreed that she could pay it off over four months.

As part of her plea agreement, Sparrow read out a tearful apology. “It is difficult to put into words the regret I feel. I will from now on strive to be a better citizen respecting others, working towards making our country a better place to live in. A place we can be accepting of each other. A place we can all call home. I accept that I have impaired the dignity of African people. Please accept my heartfelt apology,” she said.

Magistrate Vincent Hlatshwayo said he accepted her apology because “it came from the bottom of your heart”, adding that “we all make mistakes”.
-0- PANA CU/AR 12Sept2016

12 septembre 2016 18:55:34

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