A former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) eThekwini executive member Suzanne Govender has been found guilty by the Equality Court and ordered her to pay a R15,000 settlement following her racist message in which she called a colleague the k-word.
Govender resigned from her youth league role in 2018 following social media circulation of her WhatsApp conversation with a colleague, during which she used the slur in reference to some party members in her ward in Chatsworth. ANCYL member Thembeka Gcwaba laid a charge with the Equality Court.
Passing the guilty judgment at the Equality Court in Chatsworth on Tuesday, acting senior magistrate NN Ngcobo found that: “The proper reach of the equality right must be determined by reference to our history and the underlying values of our constitution.”
Ngcobo said: “A major constitutional object is the creation of a non-racial and non-sexist egalitarian society underpinned by human dignity, the rule of law, a democratic ethos and human rights.”
Ngcobo increased the R8,000 settlement Govender had offered to pay Gcwaba to R15,000.
The controversial WhatsApp conversation took place between Govender and another ANCYL member in December 2017 about people who Govender believed to it in for her. Govender used the k-word to describe the people she believed to be involved.
As part of a settlement agreement, Govender wrote Gcwaba a letter of apology, admitting that a reference to race in a democratic country, which is described as a “rainbow nation”, is detrimental to the races and the country as a whole.
“I accordingly unreservedly apologise to you for using such terrible words. I have learnt my lesson and I should have not used those words in the first place.”
Govender has been ordered to pay the R15,000 to Gcwaba in installments of R500 per month.