Black business titans' k-word case hampered by transcript delay
The landmark court case that could determine whether black people can be criminally charged for using the k-word as an insult has been postponed for two months.
Businessman Peter-Paul Ngwenya is facing charges of crimen injuria at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court for allegedly calling Investec chief executive Fani Titi the k-word and a “bantustan boss” in a text message.
The pair have been at loggerheads after Ngwenya claimed that a business deal went sour and that he is owed R54m.
In the text message conversation between Ngwenya, Titi and managing director of MRC Media Aqeel Patel, Ngwenya also said they “will bleed”.
He also wrote that Titi would “see his mother”, who had died, and has thus led Titi to believe this was a threat on his life.
While the same court – even the same magistrate, Pravina Rugoonandan – has ruled in the past that the use of the k-word against black people is an infringement of their dignity, and is therefore prosecutable, the state has acknowledged that this case is more complex because both parties are black.
On Wednesday morning both sides were meant to put forward their closing arguments. However, prosecutor Yusuf Baba told the court that he and the defence had only received transcripts of the previous proceedings on Monday, and that because of the complex nature of the matter, both sides needed further time to put together their written heads of argument.