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Voices

Bringing hatemongers to book

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One of the more unfortunate consequences of the online communication revolution is that it has given bigots, cranks, and conspiracy theorists of every stripe easily accessible platforms to propagate their noxious views. South Africa has certainly had its fair share of these cyberspace hatemongers, but few in our experience have matched the sheer virulence and persistence of local Nazi wannabe Jan Lamprecht.

In July last year, the Board, in the name of South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Gauteng Council chairperson, Professor Karen Milner, laid a crimen injuria charge against Lamprecht for persistently propagating a particularly radical brand of antisemitism, including incitement to violence, on his various online platforms. This spawned a number of court actions.

Lamprecht’s reaction to the charge was to post Milner’s picture and personal details along with disparaging comments about her on his website, resulting in her receiving hate mail. In October, Milner successfully applied to the Randburg Magistrates Court for a protection order against Lamprecht in terms of which he was prohibited from engaging or attempting to engage in harassment by publishing any pictures/photos or references to her on any social media platform or websites, and was required to remove all such material previously posted by him within 48 hours of the order.

It soon emerged that Lamprecht had not only failed to remove certain relevant items, but had posted further offensive material. The SAJBD accordingly applied to the same court for a warrant of arrest to be issued against him for violating the conditions of the interim protection order.

We were once again successful, with the court confirming the issuing of the warrant last Thursday, 11 March 2021. It was, as we noted in our media statement, a major milestone and is indicative of the court’s stance that it won’t tolerate contempt of its court orders and will authorise the arrest of people who do so.

We appeared in court again this week, this time for a scheduled hearing into whether or not the court would confirm the interim protection order. However, in the end, the hearing was rescheduled to 19 April.

The fact that the SAJBD has been able to bring to book those guilty of inciting hatred and harm against our community is in large part due to those who over the decades have so generously put their skills and resources at its disposal. As with previous high-profile antisemitism cases it has taken on over the past several years, the SAJBD has been represented throughout in this latest matter by Ian Levitt Attorneys. I take this opportunity of thanking Ian, advocate Laurance Hodes, and the rest of their superb team for all they have done and continue to do to protect the safety and civil rights of South African Jewry.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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