Back to jail for alleged k-word racist Kessie Nair for now

A few days after unleashing a racist video rant against President Cyril Ramaphosa, Kessie Nair appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on a charge of crimen injuria on Thursday afternoon. Nair sat in the dock and shook his head as the state prosecutor spoke.

Kessie Nair, the former Durban councillor and ex-convict who posted a video of himself calling President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word, does not want to be in isolation at Westville Prison pending his bail application next week.

When Nair's attorney, Chris Gounden, began to ask the the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to remand his client in isolation for his own safety, the 60-year-old objected.

Nair told Gounden that he wanted to be in the cells.

"He wants to be with the general prison population," Gounden told the court after taking instructions from Nair.

Nair - who served six years in prison for corruption and claims to have once been a member of the notorious 26s prison gang - has been charged with seven counts of crimen injuria and two counts of incitement for his widely circulated racist rant on video and in social media posts.

In the video he calls for Ramaphosa to be charged for “defrauding this nation‚ for oppressing this nation‚ for high treason‚ for being the source [of] all crime and violence and poor healthcare and poverty in this so-called true democracy”.

In a written post‚ Nair says: “Let me go down in history‚ becoming the first and last man to called [sic] the number one citizen‚ the state president” the k-word.

“Achieved my goal‚ now I’m ready to die‚ for my intended message is public knowledge.

“Tuma Mena [sic] [to] Westville Prison‚” he added.

On Thursday Nair appeared relaxed and smiled often during his first court appearance.

Earlier he had been taken to the district surgeon for an assessment which recommended that he be sent to Fort Napier Hospital for observation for 28 days.

In response to Nair's racist post, his family distanced themselves from him and issued a statement claiming that he had several chronic illnesses and suggested that he was mentally unstable. They were not in court on Thursday.

Gounden went in guns blazing, asking for Magistrate Irfaan Khalil to recuse himself.

He told the court that Nair was of the view that Khalil had a personal interest in the case as the president chose judges in the country.

Khalil denied the application saying that the claim was "speculative in the extreme".

"It is presumptuous to assume I want to be a judge. It lacks merit."

He also dismissed Gounden's claim that it was irregular for Nair to appear in a special sitting at the Verulam Family Court and not at the "criminal court".

Khalil explained that as of February all high profile matters were heard in the Verulam Family Court building and that it was the prerogative of the head of the court to allocate cases to magistrates and courtrooms.

Nair faces seven counts of crimen injuria for allegedly calling:

  •   President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word;
  •   Former Chatsworth councillor Brandon Pillay an "overgrown frog and a master of political puppets" on social media;
  •   Durban deputy mayor Fawzia Peer a zombie on social media;
  •   KwaZulu-Natal Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay a political puppet;
  •   Saying Durban mayor Zandile Gumede was riddled with corruption; and
  •   Calling former speaker Logie Naidoo a black sangoma.
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