The Umzinto Equality Court in KZN has today ordered Penny Sparrow to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation for her racist comments on Facebook.
The KwaZulu-Natal estate agent Penny Sparrow, who months back, caused controversy with her Facebook post where she likened black beach goers to monkeys, received her final punishment today from Magistrate Irfaan Khalil who charged her with R150 000 fine to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation within 60 days.
“Her words convey the message both explicitly and implicitly to the reader that black people are not worthy of being described as human beings – implicit in this is that they have lower or sub-human intelligence,” Magistrate Irfaan Khalil retorted.
The R150 charge on Penny sparrow is quite bellow the R200 000 the African National Congress (ANC) who lodged the complaint expected. Much more people believe the charge against her is a good start by the court especially as it goes ahead to interdict her from further hate speech.
In January Sparrow posted on Facebook: “These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Year’s Eve and onto public beaches, towns, etc obviously have no education whatsoever. So to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others.
“I am sorry to say I was among the revelers and all I saw was black on black skins what a shame. I do know some wonderful thoughtful black people. This lot (sic) of monkeys don’t want to even try,” Sparrow wrote.
Meanwhile, Mrs Penny sparrow was not present during the court verdict, her daughter Charmaine Cowie told the court that her mother was ‘too sick’ to appear for proceedings and feared for her life.
“She’s sick with sugar diabetes. She is unable to come to court today because of the stress that this has caused. She tried to get legal counsel but no one will represent her,” she said
“I needed to come through today to make an apology and make a postponement so she can find out what she can do to apologize for the comments she made on Facebook. She can’t be present because she fears for her life.”
In reaction to this, Denzil Potgieter, for the ANC, said that it was clear that Cowie was in contact with her mother, and decried the delay saying Sparrow is nonchalant on a serious matter like this.
“She has done nothing to approach the court and indicate what her attitude is towards the matter. This is not the conduct of a reasonable person who seriously intends to do something about this matter,” he said.
“She [Cowie] says her mother wants to find a way to apologise, and that is one of the items sought in relief of this matter, that she [Sparrow] will never engage in this detestable conduct again.”
This is a serious matter and there is no basis to delay it any further. There is a considerable public interest in this matter and it is in the interest of justice and of the public that it is disposed of.”
Relying on this, Khalil then made an order that the matter would proceed in the absence of Sparrow.