Join the fight to have the unlawful judgment and sentencing of Marie Basson set aside and have human rights FOR ALL be reinstated
Countless movies have been made on this subject. Movies based on countless books. Remember Shawshank Redemption? The Green Mile? Awesome books and movies. Being sentenced to prison for a crime you did not commit. Scary thought. I think we all have at least SOME degree of fear of that happening to us.
At least we think it won't happen to us if we stay out of compromising situations. But what if it does happen? What if a routine trip to the supermarket suddenly makes that fear a reality? What if it happens to someone you know? What if it's a close relative, your spouse, or your parent... even your child? It does happen after all. You hear about it. You read about it: "DNA test clears man of double homicide after 20 years in prison". Some people aren’t even lucky enough to have their name cleared…
Wrongfully accused and sentenced without any evidence. Just a “she said, she said” situation. It happened to Marie Basson.
Shopping with her young daughter at the same Pick n Pay she'd been going to practically daily for 16 years; unpacking groceries at the till. Without warning a woman pushed past her at the checkout, bumping her and her young toddler. The child was squashed up against the checkout counter. You don't hurt a child in front of her mother. Marie reacted like any other mother would, telling this person to apologise to her child for hurting her. The woman refused and walked off towards the cigarette counter. Marie at this point just trying to unpack the trolley filled with groceries, threw the woman a zap sign. When she walked out, the woman was still there, waiting for her. Marie then said the one sentence that has been haunting her ever since: “You probably don’t realize that you bump people, because you have such a big fat ass”. Was saying that wrong? Yes. Did Marie apologise? Yes, just a few short hours after the incident, and again on other occasions. Some other exchanges happened, but not once was the k word used. In fact, the other woman even told Marie that she shouldn’t shop where black people shop and that it is the "new South Africa so Marie should get used to it " to which a stunned Marie replied that luckily, it has been a new SA for a very long time.
From THAT incident, somehow the race card came into play. Somehow, Marie is accused of saying the k-word loud enough that this woman allegedly hears it. The cashier that served Marie (the State's only witness), did not. This should be in the court documents, as the cashier testified to this under oath when giving her version of events. Why would Marie say it anyway? It's not a word she used, nor uses, coming from a liberal family that stood against the injustices of apartheid. It’s not a word she would utter just to hurt someone, or strip them of their dignity. She knows the effect of words and especially this word.
(A few facts about Marie Basson and how she was raised and the belief system ingrained in her:
1. Her father is an HIV/AIDS activist in Africa and wrote a book on the subject.
2. She grew up taking care of orphans with and without HIV as her Mom started a multiracial baby orphanage in the 90's.
3. Her father was a spiritual leader and leader of an orphanage and actively involved in fighting against apartheid. He often went to rural areas and townships such as Soshanguve to preach.
4. Her sister adopted two African American children 2 years ago,
5. She was put into the first Multiracial high school in South Africa back in the early 90's and her best friend, whom she is still friends with to this day, is of a different race.
6. Her Made-of-honour at her wedding, at the turn of the century, is of a different race and is like her Sister. She was a part of her family and was just as devastated when her friend's mother and sister passed away. She was also notified of these deaths as if she was in fact a sister. They have been friends since 1998, and this woman has been an immensely influential person in her life. This friend was the FIRST person she told and went to for advice when she found out that she was pregnant with her first child. Their children grew up together and although this friend now lives in Germany, they still keep in touch on a regular basis.
7. She was on a first name basis with 99% of the employees at that Pick n Pay, even after this incident, because most, if not all of them did not believe the accusations against Marie.
8. She always pays much more than the average person to any of the people that work for her. To any person in need actually.)
Did this woman manage to pull strings, perhaps using her IPID credentials? She promised Marie that she would make an example of her. That she did. For what reason, only she will know. Getting more than 10 police officers to arrest Marie around midnight, the same day of the incident, like a dangerous criminal.
Marie was found guilty of crimen injuria, and sentenced to 6 months in prison; much to the utter shock and disbelief of everyone, including her lawyer, who promised her that there was no chance that she could be found guilty without any evidence or eyewitnesses to corroborate the woman's story.
Her lawyer felt very confident about the appeal, pointing out the MANY points he felt the Magistrate erred on during the trial. There were (at least) 9 MAJOR POINTS like this. He felt extremely confident that the sentence AND conviction WOULD be set aside. Her lawyer actually referred to this situation in his application for leave to appeal – “that any person should endure insults in ordinary course of life”, in the matter of R vs Walton 1958 (3) SA 693 (R) and S vs Seweya 2004 (1) SACR 387 (T). Should that be qualified now? Scaremongering? At this point I can’t say that it is, because it IS happening to Marie RIGHT NOW.
At the appeal, because Marie stuck to her principles during trial and refused to apologise for uttering a word she did not use, the conviction and sentence stands. She has been labelled as an unreliable witness. An unreliable witness, because she would not and could not confess to saying that word. BECAUSE IT GOES AGAINST HER PRINCIPLES TO LIE ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND TO FALSELY ADMIT TO SAYING THAT WORD. JUST READ THE FACTS ABOUT MARIE AGAIN.
Was the State and the court looking for someone to make an example of? If they did, they found one, but just not someone that might have actually said that word. It's extremely sad and frustrating, that a person least likely to ever be regarded as a racist, has now been labelled exactly that.
Marie's case highlights the governments OVER-EAGERNESS to punish the racists in our society and that they are forgetting to give people a fair chance to defend themselves. They made it very clear at various times that they wanted to put people behind bars for the "new" crimen injuria law, but even innocent scapegoats? If these are the tactics now, then these tactics, of throwing people in prison to make examples of, reek very much of an era we thought was over when Nelson Mandela became president.
The fact that she apologised for commenting on this woman's anatomy seems to have never really been the issue, and seemed to mean nothing in the bigger scheme of what was happening to Marie.
How is it in "the interest of justice" to send Marie to prison for 6 months? So that she can be cured of her non-existent racism? So that she can be an example to the REAL racists out there who still think it's OK to use that word? Was the magistrate just so blinded by being one of the first to be able to send a "racist" to prison he lost sight of giving her a fair trial? Forget about the people who PUBLICLY, and even on social media, incriminate themselves by using a despicable word. Those are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT stories and yes, something needs to be done about their racism. But how do you even cure someone of racism? The same way you cure someone of any -ism?
Marie fears for her life. She would, at this juncture, rather be on the run for the rest of her life, than go back to prison, where she spent almost 2 days, right after being sentenced. This also happened under strange circumstances. Bundled into the back of a police van, driven to Sun City prison, while her lawyer was still arguing her bail application? A "convicted racist", it seems, is even more of a danger to society than a convicted rapist. At least, or so it would seem, rapists and murderers get a fair trial and are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
I ask of you:
Help me fund Marie's mounting legal costs to fight this injustice. Help me keep her safe and alive, because she won't make it out of prison... She simply won't survive it. We fear for her safety and for her life. She has 3 children, of which the youngest is still extremely dependent on her.
It was a very good case for an appeal, but having a legal system that seems to be out for blood, that seems to have no qualms in sending innocent people to prison, it looks set to be a long, hard, and very EXPENSIVE battle ahead.
From a person that is very concerned for her safety.
This is a page to raise funding for Marie's mounting legal costs and though proceeds of any funds will be paid directly to her, this is not a page managed or owned by Marie.