Home News Prominent lawyer and businessman square up over alleged racist comments

Prominent lawyer and businessman square up over alleged racist comments

Johannesburg – A prominent lawyer has approached the police and the SA Human Rights Commission after a KZN businessman allegedly used derogatory language against him in a text message.

In a statement submitted to the SAHRC in July, advocate Manogh Dayanand Maharaj said Ballito based businessman Frederick Wilhelm Lutzkie had referred to him in the derogatory K-word in a text message.

Maharaj said he was called the K-word by Lutzkie in September 2020 when they travelled together to a hunting exercise at the Welgevonden Nature Reserve, as guests of their business associate, Zunaid Moto.

In a statement, Maharaj said Lutzkie was at large ever since he opened a criminal case against him and approached the SAHRC for relief.

Lutzkie has denied the allegations and denies he is at large.

Maharaj said he was dismayed when he learnt that the businessman had allegedly referred to him as a f**** k**** as he had thought they had good relations, although he also alleged Lutzkie had failed to pay him for using his legal services.

Lutzkie accused Maharaj of double billing and said he had approached the Legal Practices Council to have him disbarred. He said the matter was before the LPC.

Maharaj said he was called a f***** k***** by Lutzkie because he was late for a chartered flight to Durban from Lanseria.

“Our hunting weekend ended on September 26, 2020. We were scheduled to return to Durban on a private jet owned by Mr Moti.

“We had intended to depart from the Execujet terminal, at Lanseria International Airport, at 1pm on that day but I was delayed in Sandton and informed Lutzkie telephonically that our departure time to Durban would be changing to 3pm,” he said in papers.

Maharaj said Lutzkie responded politely on the phone, but he later allegedly learnt that he had used offensive language in a text to the then flight co-ordinator, Josie van Niekerk.

“I learnt that in reaction to my telephonic discussion with him, he had transmitted a highly contemptuous and offensive text message to Van Niekerk, via WhatsApp, that contained a racial slur which was deliberately aimed at impairing my dignity in the most personal, insensitive and offensive manner.

“His text message read as follows: ‘Hi J

Die f***** k***** praat nou van 15H00.

Hy kan my eers oor een uur se as hy met sy girlfriend baas gepraat het.

Sorry vir dit,” he said in a statement to the SAHRC.

Lutzkie who spoke to “IOL”, denied using the derogatory K-word against Maharaj and also alleged Moti and Maharaj had forced Van Niekerk to hand over the phone.

Maharaj had a different version, saying he only learnt of the text in June 2021 when Van Niekerk left the company and returned the company phone to Moti, which was when they learnt of the texts.

The criminal complaint was opened in September 2021, and in August 2022, Lutzkie was summoned to appear before the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, but he did not appear and the court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Maharaj said Lutzkie was effectively a fugitive from justice.

“Accordingly, I seek the assistance of the general public by keeping a lookout for Lutzkie and reporting his whereabouts to the SAPS, so that he may be arrested and brought to court to face the charge that the State has preferred against him,” said Maharaj.

Lutzkie said he was not at large, but he and his legal team were still trying to get hold of the warrant of arrest from the police.

Lutzkie also denied ever using a racial slur towards Maharaj and said he was waiting for his day in court.

He also alleged Van Niekerk’s cellphone was forcefully taken from him.

“Mr Moti gave the information to Mr Maharaj. They claim I said something about Mr Maharaj.

“I did not say anything to Mr Maharaj.

“It is also highly irregular how they got the cellphone.

“I also have a record saying he was forced to hand over the cellphone. You cannot take someone’s cellphone and say the information is derogatory,” said Lutzkie.

Lutzkie said Sandton police had driven to Ballito to see him and accused them of “threatening him” over a crimen injuria case.

“I am not in hiding, my lawyer phoned the IO and asked for the warrant … We are not scared to talk and stand in a court.

“But Maharaj must follow the procedures correctly. The police must come and ask my version before they go to a prosecutor and decide to charge me or not.

“Why am I not being served like a normal person,” he said.

In a statement, the South African Human Rights Commission said it “acknowledges receipt of your complaint as well as your correspondence dated 08 July 2021.

“Kindly be advised that on assessment of the abovementioned complaint we have noted that the alleged incident/comments were made in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

“We therefore advise that the said complaint has been forwarded to our Gauteng Provincial Office in whose jurisdiction the matter falls,” it said.

Lutzkie’s attorney Konrad Gothe told “IOL” that they had not been able to find a warrant of arrest issued for Lutzkie at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court and that police officers dealing with the case had apparently refused to share a copy of the warrant.

“We were unable to find a copy of the warrant. I have not had sight of it. I can confirm we have gone to the Randburg court and the police officer investigating the case has refused to provide a copy of the warrant, so it is business as usual,” he said.