Yesterday former KwaZulu-Natal estate agent Penny Sparrow was found guilty of racism.
Sparrow, 68, appeared in the Scottburgh Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was found guilty of crimen injuria, the legal term for a willful injury to someone’s dignity, caused by the use of obscene or racially offensive language or gestures.
Magistrate Vincent Hlatshwayo handed Sparrow a R5 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment.
Sparrow chose to pay the fine and as part of her sentence, she’s not allowed to be found guilty of a similar offence in the next five years.
In a Facebook post in January, Sparrow referred to black people at a Durban beach as “monkeys”.
While in the dock, Sparrow read out an apology and burst into tears as she asked the court and the country for forgiveness.
She says: “I wish to make a public apology for my thoughtless behaviour. I have hurt the feelings of my fellow South Africans. I realise that what I have done is wrong. I am very sorry.”
Sparrow was also ordered to make a public apology for her remarks over the social media platform Facebook – the very platform over which she made her rant against black South Africans.
This charge against Sparrow was brought by DA member and Mayor of Joburg Herman Mashaba.
It was not the first court case Sparrow faced.
In June, Equality Court Magistrate Irfaan Khalil ruled that Sparrow had to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Trust to atone for her remarks.
Sparrow did not appear in the Equality Court, reportedly due to ill health.
Sparrow was also ordered to pay the ANC’s legal fees, who brought the matter before the Equality Court.