Former real estate agent Vicki Momberg became the first person in South Africa to be sentenced to prison for a racist rant. Momberg was sentenced to an effective two years in prison for her outburst caught on camera in 2016.
The court sentenced her to three years, with one year suspended. She was found guilty on four counts of crimen injuria on November 3 2016. Momberg verbally abused a black police officer who had helped her after an alleged smash-and-grab incident.
A precedent-setting decision was handed down by Magistrate Pravina Rugoonandan on Wednesday, making Momberg the first person in South African history to be handed a prison sentence for crimen injuria.
In a video clip that went viral, Momberg could be heard complaining about the “calibre of blacks” in Johannesburg. She was caught on video using the K-word 48 times on the officers.
Prosecutor Yusuf Baba said Momberg showed no remorse for her actions, using her behaviour during the trial as an example of this.
Baba told the court that the police officers’ human rights were violated and that Momberg’s racist outbursts and the continued use of the k-word should not be tolerated. He cited Constitutional Court case law and the Equality Court ruling of Penny Sparrow, who was fined for racial slurs on social media.
— Iman Rappetti (@imanrappetti) March 28, 2018
Momberg’s lawyer Kevin Lawlor argued that sentencing must be fair and balanced and asked for his client to be sent for rehabilitation instead of direct imprisonment.
Lawlor said Momberg was caught in an “emotional storm” after being a victim of a crime.
“She was vulnerable and alone at night. She was victim to a crime,” Lawlor said.
During the trial, Momberg changed lawyers multiple times and accused Rugoonandan, Baba, and even the probation workers of conspiring against her.
This #VickiMomberg imprisonment matter is ground breaking. Sets quite a precedent. Imagine going to prison coz you just couldn’t hold your tongue… Big Lesson here… HUGE!!
— Mpho Letsholonyane (@MphoMaboi) March 28, 2018