K-word holidaymaker 'could face a stiff fine' - expert

A stiff fine could be on the cards for a South African man who makes a racist slur in a video circulating on social media. 

In the video, which has gone viral, Adam Catzavelos records himself at an overseas holiday spot saying: "Not one k****r in sight, f*cking heaven on earth… You cannot beat this!"

Read: Twitter outrage over racist holidaymaker's use of k-word

René Koraan, a senior lecturer at the law faculty of North West University, told News24 that Catzavelos' actions could land him in serious trouble.

"This definitely comes down to crimen injuria," says Koraan.

Koraan says a complaint will most probably be submitted to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which will lead to a case of crimen injuria being laid against Catzavelos, typically at the Equality Court.

"This is similar to the Penny Sparrow case," says Koraan.

Sparrow, a former real estate agent, was fined R150 000 by the Equality Court in 2016 for referring to black people as "monkeys" on social media.

Read: Anti-white slur case heads for Equality Court

"I don't know how people can still make videos and say these things and post them [on social media], knowing the consequences," says Koraan.

"But depending on his remorse or 'excuse', he can most certainly be convicted in a criminal court."

Meanwhile, Catzavelos has been fired from his family company, St George's Fine Foods, and one client of the company has decided to find another supplier. 

Read more: Huge business fallout as family fires racist k-word holidaymaker  

Koraan says it doesn't matter that Catzavelos was out of the country when he used the k-word; and whether it might not be an offence in that country.

"It comes down to domicile [place of residence], so jurisdiction will be in South Africa. And if you look at the word itself, I don't think [Catzavelos] was referring to any other group of people in any other place or country."

The circumstances considered by the court would ultimately determine the penalty, Koraan says, but in this case it could be a "very stiff fine" or a suspended sentence "with jail time hanging over him".

SAHRC 'pursuing the matter'

Advocate Bongani Majola, chairperson of the SAHRC, told News24 on Wednesday that the commission would be "pursuing the matter on its own", whether or not any formal complaints are received by members of the public.

Majola watched the video of Catzavelos on Wednesday morning.

"I'm sure there will be complaints, many people have been calling, but we will be laying a complaint ourselves," Majola confirmed.

Read more: Twitter users track down and want to visit man in 'k-word' holiday video

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