Johannesburg Real Estate Agent, Vicky Momberg, has been convicted for racially abusing police officers following a smash and grab incident in February 2016. She was found guilty on four counts of crimen injuria which is described as a wilful injury to someone’s dignity by the use of obscene or racially offensive language.
After having dinner with her parents on the evening of 3 February 2016, Momberg was travelling to her Bedfordview home along Malibongwe road in Johannesburg. She remembers a black person smashing her window and grabbing her handbag.
She then made several calls to the police’s 10111 call centre. All the calls were recorded and were not in dispute. She later stopped a police van and her exchange with these officers is caught on video.
She is quoted as saying the following “It doesn’t matter; one K is bad enough this happens all the time. The K’s in Johannesburg are terrible… I’m so sick of it I don’t care what anyone says – I do not like a single black person in Johannesburg. The calibre of blacks in this town vary from the calibre of blacks in Durban, they are opinionated they are arrogant, and they are just plain and simple useless I do not want a black person to assist me if I see a K I will drive him over. If I had a gun I would shoot everybody I do not want to deal with any K’s I am not prepared to deal with any K’s I have just been smashed and grabbed by a Black K”.
Her defence was automatism, which according to Wikipedia is a rarely-used criminal defence – and refers to a set of brief unconscious behaviours.
She recalls driving around in circles after the smash and grab. She remembers making the phone calls to the 10111 call centre. She was able to drive home after the incident, avoiding deserted roads because of her smashed car window. She is caught on camera, talking on her cellphone about stopping her bank cards.
Magistrate Pravina Rugoonandun did not buy Momberg’s defence: “This court finds that the conduct of the accused was a voluntary act, which is an essential element of criminal responsibility. I find that the accused may have been a victim of a smash and grab on the day and night in question, and was traumatised by that incident; she did lose her temper and was very angry. But I also find that she did not lose control the choice of words used by the accused during her outburst were racial, and directed specifically toward black people and it proves intent and Dolus Directus.”
Earlier, the Equality court ordered Momberg to pay ten thousand rand in damages to one of the police officers. After being convicted by a criminal court, Momberg now faces a suspended sentence.
The K word is the most notorious word in South African history. Its use now constitutes hate crime in our country and is unpardonably painful and violent. The accused actions were rational, purposeful and intentional. The court is satisfied that the guilt of the accused has been established by the state beyond reasonable doubt.
Momberg was placed on warning and ordered to remain in Gauteng. The case was postponed to the 30th of November for sentencing.