Edward Zuma. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Edward Zuma. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Edward Zuma’s R30‚000 fine for hate speech will keep the lights on at a Pietermaritzburg school.

In the wake of violent protests at the Umthombo Senior Secondary School over school fees‚ pupils were excited to learn on Tuesday that the son of former president Jacob Zuma had to hand over cash to their impoverished school. "We are very happy about it. In fact‚ we are in need of money. The first thing we have to do is pay the electricity bill so our lights are not cut‚" deputy principal Bongani Manyoni told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

The school owes the local municipality at least R105‚000 for electricity.

"It looks like the whole R30‚000 will go towards our debt. We will also have to use R1‚500 from it to pay Telkom to prevent our phone line from being disconnected‚" Manyoni said. "We are a very poor school. Our learners come from very poor families. Our school is quintile four‚ while the rest of the schools in the township are less than quintile four‚ so our learners are expected to pay school fees."

About a quarter of the school’s 453 pupils have paid the R200 school fee. "That’s why we don’t have money. We rely on the subsidy that is given by the Department of Basic Education and it’s very little and it doesn’t satisfy our needs‚" Manyoni said.

Less than two weeks ago‚ pupils and their parents embarked on violent protests calling for the school’s rank to be lowered to quintile two as they could not afford school fees. The pupils were back in class on Wednesday and "very happy" about Zuma’s fine.

"It was actually the pupils who told us about the fine. I don’t know how they found out about it on Tuesday but they are happy that some money is coming to us‚" Manyoni said.

On Tuesday, Zuma agreed to apologise to the South African public within seven days and pay two schools R30‚000 each for hate speech he made against [now Tourism Minister] Derek Hanekom and [now Public Enterprises Minister [Pravin Gordhan].

In the letter, Zuma described Gordhan and Hanekom as an "anti-majoritarian sell-out minority in the ANC who have brazenly and unabashedly spoken out against [former president Jacob] Zuma on various white monopoly media platforms".

He said Gordhan was one of the most corrupt cadres who‚ as Gandhi‚ "sees black South Africans as low-class k*****s" while Hanekom was a "white askari who will do anything to be an obstacle to radical economic transformation and to defend white monopoly privileges".

The conditions of the settlement with the South African Human Rights Commission include that Zuma submit a written apology to the public within seven days of the agreement, which the commission will then publish.

The commission had requested that Zuma pay R60‚000 to the Umthombo Secondary School. However‚ his attorney Ayanda Mkhwanazi said the initial agreement was for the money to be paid to Ohlange High School in Inanda.

Magistrate Irfaan Khalil said the Ohlange High School had a significant history and was also impoverished‚ therefore he ruled that Zuma split the R60‚000 between the two schools.

Zuma will have to make his first payment of R10‚000 to Umthombo by June 30. Two further installments of R10‚000 each will have to be paid by August.

Please sign in or register to comment.