Alleged false racism claims: Court says TikTok user engaged in harassment

A court has found that a TikTok user engaged in harassment when she made allegations of racism against three young people.

The Booysens Magistrate Court has found that TikTok user Njabulo Madlanga engaged in harassment when she made unproven allegations of racism against three youngsters in videos that went viral on social media in July 2023.

Njabulo was ordered to remove the harmful videos from all social media platforms and to not further harass the applicants. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit represents the applicants, Reece Lopes (20), Milan Kruijer (20) and Jude Fraser-Grant (21).

Njabulo Madlanga received support from Tumi Sole, an experienced legal adviser on X.

The judgment today made the interim protection order granted on 23 October 2023, a final order of the court. The unit acted on behalf of the applicants.

The three friends opened a crimen injuria case against Madlanga in August last year after she allegedly made false and damaging allegations of racism against them. The claims, which the trio deny, were made on TikTok, where one of the videos has been viewed more than two-million times. During interactions with her followers, Madlanga helped identify Lopes, Kruijer and Fraser-Grant which led to an onslaught harassment, abuse and even death threats against them.

Milan Kruijer and Reece Lopes.

Magistrate George Mapanga said the allegations made against the applicants constituted harassment and caused harm.

“The respondent (Madlanga) does not deny that she posted the videos on social media and that they attracted comments which constituted (incitement to) violence. The respondent was asked to take the videos down but she did not do so. The applicants’ identities were revealed on social media where they were alleged to be racist. The conduct of the respondent meets the definition of harassment. It was wrong and dangerous to make such claims without offering any proof,” he said.

Milan Kruijer with the application.

Barry Bateman, spokesperson for the unit, says they will continue to support Lopes, Kruijer and Fraser-Grant in the criminal case against Madlanga. “The unit has previously stated publicly that false claims of racism should be dealt with as seriously as bona fide allegations of such discrimination. We are encouraged by the court’s finding that the unproven allegations levelled against the three youngsters constituted harassment and caused them harm. We are confident that a criminal court will reach a similar conclusion,” he said.

The unit was established to ensure there is equality before the law; to ensure that justice is upheld in all cases. False allegations of racism should be treated as seriously as true allegations of racism, because the social and economic consequences for those falsely accused of such conduct is no different to those genuinely guilty of racism.

The NPA must still decide whether or not to prosecute Madlanga. The unit notes that the TikTok posts in question have already been removed.

How it started:

In statements filed with the police, the ordeal started on July 6, 2023, when the trio were enjoying a day out at the Gold Reef City theme park. While waiting in a queue to get onto one of the rides, Madlanga, who was waiting in the same queue, alleged that the trio had made sounds imitating monkeys. She took to TikTok where she told her followers in a video, “So, let me tell you something, we in this line yeah, we in a line, in this place, Gold Reef, people will make sound effects here if you are black, I’m just saying, monkey sound effects, so just know that.”

TikTok user Njabulo Madlanga.

In another TikTok post and acting on requests from her followers to identify the alleged racists, Madlanga posted a video of the three standing in the queue. Lopes, Kruijer and Fraser-Grant were soon identified by Madlanga’s followers and became the targets of a vicious online campaign.

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