Convicted racist Catzavelos pleads for forgiveness

Adam Catzavelos
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Adam Catzavelos says he is deeply ashamed of his racist rant and has asked South Africans for forgiveness. He was testifying on Thursday during sentencing proceedings in his crimen injuria case in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.

The case follows a self-recorded video of Catzavelos in which he utters the K-word multiple times, while on holiday in Greece in August 2018.

In the video, he is seen celebrating the absence of black people at the beach.

Catzavelos pleaded guilty to crimen injuria in December 2019, following two unsuccessful bids to have the charges withdrawn.

In his testimony, Adam Catzavelos told the court that the video of his racist rant is the most disgusting thing he has ever done and he is deeply ashamed.

He says he is extremely remorseful about his actions and was a broken man at the time the video was made.

Catzavelos says since he started doing community service with the Seth Mazibuko Legacy Foundation in Soweto, he has changed for the better. He has called on South Africans to forgive him for his actions.

“I acknowledge at the time what I did was disgusting and for me, to have made that kind of a comment, I don’t know what was going through my head and I don’t know how I was thinking. But I have acknowledged that the way that I was thinking was incorrect and it is not the correct way to go about life. And as I say, please don’t judge me on what I did do and look at what I am doing now. I am not that same person anymore. I have gone through a big transformation,” says Catzavelos.

Struggle Icon Seth Mazibuko, who also testified, called on the court not to sentence Adam Catzavelos to direct imprisonment.

Mazibuko says he wants Catzavelos to be more involved in his foundation to preach reconciliation to South Africans.

“I would like to use Adam more for reconciliation in the country. I would like to use Adam more to go out there and apologise to the nation. And I am wondering if sending him to prison will serve a purpose. But it’s up to this court and it is up to the people of South Africa to make that judgement,” says Mazibuko.

However, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which brought the case against Catzavelos, doesn’t share the same sentiments.

Chairperson of the EFF in Gauteng, Mandisa Mashego, says Adam Catzavelos should be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for his racist rant.

“I believe that apologies are patronising, actually encourage more racism. They are not a deterrent and therefore if it was possible to criminalise and give proper sentences for racism and not just crimen injuria, I would wish that over and above the crimen injuria charge that for racism alone that Adam serves nothing less than 10 years behind bars for racism alone,” says Mashego.

Sentence will be handed down on the 28th of February.

In August, Catzavelos reached a settlement agreement with the South African Human Rights Commission in another case relating to the video. He was ordered to pay a fine of R150 000.